The local companies contracted to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) to help fight the coronavirus (COVID-19) spread have given an assurance that they are on course to deliver the equipment by the mid-May deadline.
The managers of those garment companies said they had adequate and regular supply of materials from the Akosombo Textiles Limited (ATL) and the Ghana Textile Print (GTP) to produce the items.
In the wake of the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country, the government selected four garment companies, including Dignity DTRT, Sleek Garments, Cadling Fashions Limited and Alfie Designs Limited to produce 3.6 million pieces of PPE to fight the pandemic.
Among other things, the companies are required to produce nose masks, medical scrubs, hospital gowns and headgear using fabrics from ATL, Volta Star Textiles and GTP.
This is to ensure that Ghana has enough PPE to fall on when needed by the frontline health workers as they go about their duties.
When the Daily Graphic visited the premises of some of the companies yesterday to ascertain the progress of work on the project, it observed that work was going on in earnest.
The managers of the companies had beefed up their core workers with extra hands as a measure to meet their daily production targets.
Some of the departments of the companies that had been inactive had been revitalised and were actively contributing to the production process.
In keeping to the social distancing protocols, the managers of the companies rolled out a shift system for the workers.
For instance, when the Daily Graphic team got to the premises of Sleek Garments at about 12:30 p.m., the first batch of about 250 workers were busy producing nose masks and other PPE.
The manager of the facility, Ms Nora Bannerman, who took the team to the production centre, said the company had the needed machinery, human resource and materials needed to produce to meet the order.
She explained that the company had sub-contracted other garment entities so it could meet the deadline.
“For each of the five companies that were handed the PPE contract, we have sub-contracted about 10 other entities to facilitate the production.
“For Sleek Garments, we started producing 2,000 PPE daily, but now we have reached 20,000 a day because we brought on more workers,” she said.
Ms Bannerman said the materials were produced in compliance with Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) and Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) requirements, thus they met the safety requirement for the production of the PPE.
“After going through approval from GSA and FDA, we need to send whatever we produce here to the Korle But Teaching Hospital for sterilisation before it can be used,” she added.
Ms Bannerman said she was optimistic that the garment companies would deliver the 3.6 million pieces of PPE, given that the needed resources were available.
She noted that the role the local garment companies were playing in the production of PPE was a wake-up call for more support to be extended to them even after the pandemic.
At Cadling Fashions Limited, the situation was not any different as the workers were seen busily putting the pieces together to produce the hospital scrubs, gowns, headgear and nose masks.
The Daily Graphic team observed that the production chain progressed with fluidity as some of the 300 workers cut the material for the various items to be sewn, while others stitched it and another team also went round to check on the finishing to ensure that there were no mistakes.
Conducting the team round the production centre, Mrs Linda Yaa Ampah, said the production of the PPE project had presented a huge opportunity for the local garment industry to grow.
“The local companies that were given the contract to produce the PPE are now playing a leading role for other garment companies and this is a great opportunity for the country to grow the industry,” she said.
Although the Daily Graphic team went to Dignity DTRT on two different days, the team was not allowed to enter the main premises of the company to see how production was progressing.
In his fifth address to the nation to give an update on the COVID-19 interventions on Sunday, April 5, President Akufo-Addo announced that some local companies had been contracted to begin the local production of PPE.
The President said that had become necessary to forestall any shortage in providing PPE which were essential in protecting the lives of frontline health workers who were risking their lives every day to battle the virus.
He also said the decision to have the PPE produced locally was also part of the plan to ensure that the nation became self-reliant.