The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has called upon certified facemask manufacturers, importers and distributors to ensure consistency of quality for their products.
The call was made during an online stakeholder engagement with facemask manufacturers organized by UNBS, following continuous complaints received from the public regarding the quality and safety of facemasks on the market.
“Once you know the certification requirements, and have been certified by UNBS, be consistent with the quality of your products. This is key for all manufacturers if you are to stay in business.” said Ms. Patricia Bageine Ejalu, the UNBS Deputy ED in charge of Standards.
Mrs Ejalu also revealed that UNBS conducts surveillance audits where impromptu visits are made to certified manufacturers to see if they are still meeting the standards, UNBS also buys samples of certified products on the market and takes them for product quality tests.
‘If the surveillance audits are done and a certified manufacturer is found producing substandard products, the UNBS License is revoked and they are automatically out of business.” Ms. Patricia Bageine Ejalu, the UNBS Deputy ED in charge of Standards added.
During the engagement, experts from the UNBS testing and certification departments offered technical guidance to stakeholders on what constitutes a quality facemask and how facemask manufacturers can get UNBS certification respectively.
The engagement with manufacturers is in line with the UNBS approach of offering technical guidance in trade so as to enable the sale of quality and safe products thus enabling self-regulation and compliance to relevant standards and legal requirements.
Wearing facemasks in public is mandatory for all persons aged six years and above, and as such, UNBS calls upon consumers to buy face masks from certified manufacturers.
As at 25th August 2020, 49 companies were certified by UNBS to produce non-medical face masks.
This is in line with the UNBS mandate of consumer protection, aimed at protecting Ugandans from buying substandard non-medical facemasks which could be harmful to their health, in the wake of COVID-19.