Health Minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng said on Monday that the move is meant to enable the public to hold specific companies accountable for the poor products adding that some companies have already been contacted with proposals to have them replaced.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) has directed manufacturers to label, all government face masks with their company logos. The directive comes amidst numerous complaints about the poor quality of free masks recently distributed by the government.
Health Minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng said on Monday that the move is meant to enable the public to hold specific companies accountable for the poor products adding that some companies have already been contacted with proposals to have them replaced. She said that going forward companies that don’t adhere to the set standards will be dropped out from the list of suppliers.
Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) approved 23 companies to manufacture masks, and according to the minister, all of them were given approved specifications of what the masks should look like but they continue getting reports that they don’t meet the set standards.
According to the standards, non-medical face masks made from polypropylene are supposed to have four layers whereas those that have either cotton or a blend of polyester and cotton material can be two-layered.
However, in addition to quality issues, there have been widespread complaints about a lot of people missing out on distribution. But Dr Aceng said distribution is ongoing although they were challenged with maintaining flow as companies experienced problems sourcing the required materials yet their production capacity has been low too.
The plan initially was to start distribution in the border districts, followed by districts with cities and municipalities and finally to districts located along cargo truck routes. According to the Ministry statistics, distribution has so far been made to 44 districts where a total of 16,092,780 masks have been given out.
Overall, the Ministry plans to distribute 34 million masks for Ugandans aged 6 years and above, an exercise that has been planned to cost 81 billion Shillings.