COVID-19: Calls for quality control in the production of PPEs

By Zbc Reporter
Government has been urged to put in place quality control mechanisms in the production of sanitisers and personal protective equipment (PPE), amid fears that people may be at the risk of using sub-standard products if unchecked.
In the wake of the COVID 19 pandemic, the health fraternity has been in the forefront urging people to personal protective equipment that include masks, gloves and alcohol based sanitisers.
Also, a lot of businesses have realised an opportunity, resulting in many of them producing these products.
It should however be noted that all these are expected to meet specific standards for them to be effective in preventing the spread of the virus that has claimed millions of lives across the globe.
National Consumer Rights Association (NACORA) Campaigns and Advocacy Advisor, Mr Effie Ncube has however made a passionate plea for government and health officials to conduct spot checks to assess these products.
“It is a question of quality control. There is no other way of doing it. You need to have government and health inspectors moving around ensuring that those supermarkets and shops that are open are using sanitisers. The fact that they are using sanitisers is a good thing. It is a requirement of the statutory instrument, World Health Organisation and all people are looking forward to having because without sanitisers we are unable to go about doing our work. We cannot wash our hands at every corner of the city so we only rely on sanitisers. To the extent that there are quality sanitisers, we are protected but to the extent that there are sub standard ones we are not protected,”says Effie Ncube ,National Consumer Rights Association Campaigns & Advocacy Advisor.
While urging consumers to rather rely more on washing their hands with soap and running water, Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) Matabeleland representative, Mr Comfort Muchekeza spoke on the need to ensure these products are quality tested to avert bigger problems resulting from a false sense of security owing to the use of sub-standard equipment.
‘On the part of producers or those who are producing sanitisers, let them make sure their products are quality tested. It’s not only an issue of testing to say the product can really kill the viruses but there is also need to test to see if that same product is not harmful to the user. That is an important issue that has to be looked at. But all those who are producing from their backyards, even from the factories, if the product has not been quality tested they should desist from selling those products or even donating to consumers. What we do not want is to create a false sense of security where consumers will believe that they have sanitised themselves while they are using a product that is far below recommended standards,’ says Comfort Muchekeza , Consumer Council of Zimbabwe Matabeleland Representative.
According the World Health Organisation (WHO), the use of hand sanitisers with an alcohol concentration of at least 60 percent kill viruses that are genetically related to, and with similar physical properties as the COVID-19 virus.
While alcohol-based sanitisers are said to be suitable alternatives to soap and water, indications are that they do have their own specific set of disadvantages if not properly used.
Cases of intentional or accidental ingestion of sanitisers leading to poisoning have been reported in some parts of the world with this being worsened if the type of alcohol in the sanitiser is not ethanol or if the product contains non-potable additives.

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