Ghana has produced 6.2 million nose masks locally from 1.24 million yards of fabric as local firms respond to conditions driven by COVID-19.
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Alan Kyerematen, said the target was to reach a total production and distribution of 14.6 million nose masks by the end of July 2020.
At the moment, the local firms are producing 250,000 nose masks per day on the average, and Mr Kyerematen said the main distribution targets were frontline workers, students and a vulnerable section of the public.
Addressing the media in Accra yesterday in relation to aspects of the ministry’s involvement in the COVID-19 fight, the minister said local producers — comprising five large-scale ‘tier one’ companies, 23 medium-scale ‘tier two’ producers and 31 small-scale ‘tier three’ producers — had also produced 90,000 hospital gowns, 90,000 head covers and 60,000 medical scrubs.
Mr Kyerematen said it had become necessary to enhance the COVID-19 safety protocols in factories and industrial establishments to ensure the safety of workers at various factories and other industrial establishments.
The enhancement, he said, had become critical due to the increasing infection at workplaces.
He advised managers of workplaces to limit in-house meetings as much as possible and use online conference platforms, if unavoidable, to observe social distancing protocols.
He said it was also required of companies to provide an anti-stigma policy to ensure that employees who tested positive were neither discriminated against nor sacked.
Mr Kyerematen said employers needed to engage the services of experts to provide psychological and emotional support for COVID-19 positive employees and their families, adding that “employers must ensure workplace confidentiality for employees”.
He mentioned that factories with more than 29 employees were required to provide a registered nurse on site to ensure health safety at the workplace.
“Industries and factories with more than 29 employees must dedicate one room within the factory premises as a holding room to immediately house or quarantine anyone who is suspected to be showing symptoms of COVID-19, and must be isolated from others while making arrangements for evacuation,” the minister stated.
He said there was the need for regular fumigation of work premises, machines and other equipment for the safety of employees against any possible spread.
To further enhance education on the COVID-19 protocols, the minister said industries and factories must display approved health promotion materials on COVID-19 at vantage points for workers.
He said work canteens should also adhere to the protocols and preventive measures, including no handshake, no hugging and no spitting.
To ensure compliance with the safety protocols, he said it was advisable for factories to form a COVID-19 inspection task force which would be trained in health promotion and preventive measures and evacuation protocols.
“If a person is confirmed positive for COVID-19, the workplace COVID-19 task force must link up with the local health authorities to ensure all contacts are traced, tested and treated. Employees must also have staff attendance monitoring mechanisms, either electronic or manual,” Mr Kyerematen said.
The minister urged retail outlets and shopping malls to regulate the number of customers who entered their shopping areas and also use floor markings inside the shopping areas to facilitate compliance with the physical distancing protocols.
He urged them to provide wipes or other forms of sanitisers for customers to clean the handles of shopping trollies and baskets or assign staff to disinfect such items after each use.
Source: Graphic Online