UNBS warns masks, gloves manufacturers over non-compliance

Local manufacturers present mask samples to the Minister of State for Investment and Privatisation Evelyn Anite (2nd left) and NDA board chairperson Merdard Bikyeterezo (3rd left) during a meeting in Kampala last year. PHOTO | ABUBAKER LUBOWA

As more companies get into mask-making, Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has cautioned against distributing defective masks, especially for non-medical purposes. 

Some manufacturers and importers, according to UNBS have been tempted to rush the process due to an anticipated growth in demand coming on the back of anticipated return of semi candidate classes to school. 

Speaking during a stakeholders meeting involving manufacturers and importers, Mr John Sanyu, the UNBS senior materials technician, said they had noted a number of abnormalities in some masks with some manufacturers using glue to attach head bands while others were using non-recommended material. 

“Under the non-medical face masks category, not all fabrics are allowed. We can for instance, use cotton, chiffon, silk and polyester in different mixes to make the face masks, complete with filters and elastic bands,” he said.

A number of manufacturers have cropped up in the masks manufacturing business, most of whom are cottage or home-based.

Mr Sanyu said there must be acceptable standards, warning that any manufacturer found distributing defective masks will be reprimanded. 

A standard mask, he said, should be able to tolerate at least five washing cycles without loss of barrier properties or degradation of the elastic bands. 

Some users have complained of masks that cause irritation while others cause suffocation, skin damages and other health hazards. 

Mr Sanyu also noted that Ugandans should desist from using masks that are not certified and properly labelled, saying they had also seen some people using uncertified masks that are made out of flammable material.  

Ms Patricia Ejalu, the UNBS deputy executive director, said most manufacturers and importers had not submitted the requisite information pertaining to hand sanitisers, surgical gloves and mask information in the prescribed by the Standards. 


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