The plastic shields, according to medics, protect eyes, nose and the mouth from potentially deadly droplets through which the infection is transmitted. They are a crucial outfit at a time when the government is recommending wearing face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
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The emergence of the global coronavirus
pandemic could turn into fortunes to Persons with Disabilities in Masaka
district, who have started making face-shields, a type of protective gear used to
stop the transmission of the disease.
The group had initially set out
as environmental protection ambassadors whose task was to collect all non-composting plastic waste materials littered in the community before they can
eventually, sell it to recycling companies that can find a use for it.
However out of their partnership
with a charity organization Eco-Brixs, the group has undertaken a project to
reproduce plastic waste materials into locally made face-shields, as a timely
response to the coronavirus.
At their main collection centre at
Kassijjagirwa cell, located at the outskirts of Masaka Municipality the group
collects heaps of plastic wastes from around the community. By the use of
simple machinery, the materials are smelted and moulded into face shields, used
to prevent respiratory discharge from one person to another.
The plastic shields, according to
medics, protect eyes, nose and the mouth from potentially deadly droplets
through which the infection is transmitted. They are a crucial outfit at a time
when the government is recommending wearing face coverings in public settings
where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
Johnson Musinguzi, the project
operations coordinator says they derived the idea out of a pursuit to have a
contribution towards the fight against COVID-19. He explains that because they
had accumulated huge quantities of plastics, they found it necessary to add
value and put it back to use.
The shield is made in the form of a
semicircle, fitted with a transparent glasslike frame that is suspended on
another plastic ribbon which rests on the forehead of a person putting it on. Musinguzi
says that they are replicating the designs from samples they have seen from elsewhere.
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The locally-made face-shield,
according to Musinguzi, is a more durable protective gear compared to the
soft-cloth facemasks that can only be used for a short while. He indicates that
they are currently operating with a daily average production capacity of 100
shields largely made by Persons with Disabilities.
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Bernard Mukalazi and Maria Regina
Nabisubi, some of the people directly involved in the making of the shields say
the project is equipping them with survival soft skills they had not envisaged
given their poor educational background.
Mukalazi appreciates that the
project is so friendly to Persons with Disability many of whom had been
marginalized in their communities due to lack of formal employment and inability
to do hard labour.
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Andrew Bownds the Chief Executive
Officer at Eco Brix, says he currently looking forward at increasing the production capacity of the group, indicating that they have reached out to
their friends in Austria asking them to support the as a contribution to towards
improving the livelihoods of vulnerable groups of people in Masaka sub-region.