QUALITY STANDARDS

All face masks must meet production requirements – Oguna

Says current masks being produced have some gaps that need to be closed.

In Summary

• Oguna said so far three local factories have been authorized to produce the masks in the country.

• Spokesman Cyrus Oguna on Tuesday said as much as members of the public are being encouraged to have face masks while in public places, they must ensure they are of the right quality.

A vendor sells face masks, locally made from cotton material at Obunga slums in Kisumu.
A vendor sells face masks, locally made from cotton material at Obunga slums in Kisumu.
Image: DANIEL OGENDO

The government has maintained that face masks must meet all the production requirements.

Government Spokesman Cyrus Oguna on Tuesday said as much as members of the public are being encouraged to have face masks while in public places, they must ensure they are of the right quality.

Oguna said so far three local factories have been authorized to produce the masks in the country.

 
 
 

They are based in Nakuru, Kitui and Machakos (in Athi River) counties.

Right now they are producing the prototypes and once approved, they will now embark on mass production,” Oguna told journalists.

He said they have assessed the current masks being produced and established a few gaps that need to be closed.

Earlier in the month, Health CS Mutahi Kagwe said not all face masks in the market are suitable for use in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.

Kagwe said only the approved masks should be used if it is necessary and that the government is now able to produce approved masks.

“Not all face masks that are made are worth anything… we now have the capacity to make approved masks in the country,” Kagwe said.

There has been a rise in business people making African print, serviette masks among others.

 
 
 

Kagwe said that World Bank will approve Sh5 billion on Thursday to be used in the fight of the pandemic. 

He said Kebs was yet to determine whether the cloth masks being used by Kenyans are suitable for combating the coronavirus.

The CS said while standards have been set for other medical masks, the ministry and Kebs are yet to determine whether cloth masks do the job.

"Even though we don't have clarity, it's better to deploy them as we develop standards because we are dealing with a formidable enemy," he said.

Oguna said wearing the right protective equipment will be key in boosting the confidence of overcoming the disease.

His sentiments were echoed by Dr Eva Njenga who said the government should move swiftly and regulate on who is the best person to distribute the masks.

Njenga said currently a lot of hawkers are in possession of the masks but with poor handling and hygiene, it might cause more infections.

The doctor asked Kenyans not to stress themselves by looking for the N95 and surgical masks which should be left to the health workers.

She said all Kenyans need are the community masks which have designed to stop passing their droplets from spreading to the other person.

Last week Industrialisation CS Betty Maina said already more than one million masks had been manufactured and were at various levels of the distribution channel.

“Form the indication we have received from the manufactures and the retailers and based on the volume expected, we don’t expect any of these masks available for sale to sell for more than Sh20,” Maina said.

“I am sure people will be able to be very innovative about it and I am certain some prices could even come as low as Sh5.”


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