The Executive Director Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA), Daniel Birungi has called upon manufacturers to step up implementation of the COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) to avoid any likely closure of their factories and companies.
The UMA boss made the call during a field visit to a number of factories to assess their work place health and safety standards with regard to COVId-19.
According to Birungi, the site visits by UMA to their members is an internal initiative aimed at curbing the increasing spread of COVID-19 in the country.
“As UMA, we have started working with Ministry of Health having recognized that it is our role as a body that brings together manufacturers to first of all assess our readiness as manufacturers for managing Coovid-19,” Birungi said.
Birungi said that at community infection level, any time there will always be a factory employee who gets infected which has prompted them to come out and ensure that each factory has the right protocols in place to ensure that if this happens, they are able to manage the case properly and mitigate any cases of it infecting others.
“So based on that we visited three factories today to assess their readiness, see the kind of protocols they have in place in order to inform the final protocol development especially Covid-19 SOPs for manufacturing,” Birungi said.
He also noted that the association is going to be working with the Ministry of Health officials to identify a training program for manufacturers as well as identifying a certification programme for manufacturers that ensures that those who put in place the right measures receive recommendation and certification to that effect.
Speaking about the site visit, Edwin Kenneth Kalungi, the in charge of safety and ISO systems at Steel & Tube Industries Ltd said that the company has put in place all the necessary measures to curb the spread of the deadly pandemic at their work place.
“We are fighting Covid through implementation of SOPs that were stipulated by the ministry of health. At our plant, we ensure that every visit and client is screened with temperature guns, does the hand washing with soap and is disinfected fully body through the disinfectant booth before entering; all person’s records are taken to monitor their location, names and temperature,” Kalungi said.
During the visit, Dr. Aggrey Batesaaki, Assistant Commissioner in charge of inspection, standards and compliance Ministry of Health highlighted a few areas that needed to be addressed by some manufactures.
“We have identified some gaps that need to be worked on to ensure a safe environment. There environment is not talking Covid-19 for example there are not much of posters and have told them to put them in place so that any body walking into the factory can be reminded about the SOPs”
While addressing fears of closing companies; Dr. Aggrey Batesaaki noted that closing off a company because of a confirmed Covid-19 case does not stop the spread of the virus.
“Once a company registers a case, Ministry of health is available to work with companies to weigh the options of curbing further spread of the virus within the premises without a total shut down” he added.