Uganda nolonger imports medical protective gear - UNBS

Mr Nicolaj Hejberg Petersen (C), the Danish Ambassador to Uganda, flanked by M David Livingstone Ebiru (R), the executive director Uganda National Bureau of Standards, inspect some of the equipment donated by the Danish government to UNBS for testing locally manufactured PPEs in Bweyogere Wakiso District. PHOTO | STEPHEN OTAGE

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While launching equipment for testing the quality of medical gear yesterday, in Bweyogere, Wakiso yesterday, Mr David Livingstone Ebiru, the UNBS executive director, said they now have capacity to ascertain the quality of all medical related supplies including face masks - both medical and none medical suits - sanitizers, alcoholic and none alcoholic beverages.

Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has said Uganda no longer imports personal protective gear because of improved local production capacity enhanced by the coming of Covid-19.

While launching equipment for testing the quality of medical gear yesterday, in Bweyogere, Wakiso yesterday, Mr David Livingstone Ebiru, the UNBS executive director, said they now have capacity to ascertain the quality of all medical related supplies including face masks - both medical and none medical suits - sanitizers, alcoholic and none alcoholic beverages.

“Previously, we were sending medical equipment for laboratory analysis in foreign countries but now we have enhanced our capacity not only for medical equipment and sanitizers but we can now also measure the amount of alcohol in beverages,” he said.

He added that besides the Shs300m medical gear testing equipment, the Danish government who provided the equipment, is also providing additional Shs6b worth of equipment to open regional testing centres for locally manufactured goods in Mbale, Arua, Gulu and Mbarara.

The move will reduce the need to travel long distances to Kampala to certify products as well as facilitating regional trade.

Speaking at the same event, Mr Nicolaj Hejberg Petersen, the Danish Ambassador to Uganda, said funding UNBS was crucial given its importance to Uganda in terms of economic development.  Since the outbreak of the Covid 19, he said, UNBS had been involved in a number of activities that support the country as well as ensuring that locally manufactured personal protective gears meet quality standards.

“We have been helping Uganda to fight [Covid-19] locally by ensuring that locally produced face masks, sanitizers and personal protective equipment is tested and certified to create jobs and ensure the quality is fine,” he said, adding that Denmark is helping Uganda to raise the quality of products so that they can access international markets.

Ms Anna Nambooze, the TradeMark East Africa country representative for Uganda and South Sudan, said since 2010, they have supported manufacturers to ensure that locally manufactured goods adhere to standards because.

She also noted that Covid-19 had presented a number of challenges such as creating difficulties in movement, which threatened trade, thus the need to create a safe trade emergency facility, which required constant supply of personal protective gear.

 “It is very important to ensure that the people using these products are safe and the products meet the standards,” she said.

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