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Sub-standard Covid-19 products flood Zimbabwe

by Staff reporter
15 May 2020 at 08:09hrs | Views
tHE Standards association of Zimbabwe (SAZ) is conducting quality tests on hand sanitiser and protective clothing and will soon be publishing a list of certified producers following the proliferation of inferior products.

Government enacted Statutory Instrument 92 of 2020 to regulate the production of protective apparel, materials and equipment to ensure the public takes effective measures to protect itself from Covid-19, which has caused global havoc.

The decision by SaZ to conduct the tests came after one of the companies producing sanitiser, Prochem, was this week fined ZW$3 000 over a sub-standard product.

A consumer shared a report from the University of Zimbabwe stating that the 20 litres of sanitiser he had bought only contained 25% alcohol instead of the stipulated minimum of 60%.

SAZ director-general Eve Gadzikwa said the association is working overtime to process the certification of producers.

"We are going to be publishing a list of certified producers on our website. We just need to clear the batches that we are testing at the moment," Gadzikwa said.

"Since this Covid-19 came into circulation, we have experienced a boom of local producers. Statutory Instrument 92 of 2020 was put in place to protect the community against substandard PPE (personal protective equipment) and sanitisers. These have to go through testing and certification and we have been extremely busy even working on weekends. It is a process.

"We have products that have been seized by the police because they failed to comply with the requisite packaging and labeling disclosures. This is a new law and it also looks into the alcohol content of sanitisers, which should be above 60%. The tests also look at the efficacy in killing the bacteria and germs, apart from the virus."

Gadzikwa said there are about 70 new producers on the market, with the association also helping out the companies to ensure they comply with the new regulations.

"We have not completed the process and some have already been certified. I would not want to give a number of which products have not met the standard because we are still in the process of testing and also helping the other companies meet the standards," Gadzikwa said.

"Just yesterday (Monday) we had about 35 new producers and have to go through that batch, so far we have 30 that have already gone through the process, in total we have about 70 local producers. We have SMEs, universities, and different other institutions," she said.

"We have been visiting their factories to help them put in place proper certification tools and also that they maintain consistency. as you are aware, there are also a number of people who are producing masks, they need to meet the standard as well."

The Public Health (Standards for Personal Protective apparel, Materials and Equipment) Regulations, 2020, state that: "4. (1) No person shall (a) offer for sale or attempt to offer for sale; or (b) sell by auction; or (c) expose, display or advertise for sale; or (d) sell under an agreement in terms of the Hire-Purchase act (Chapter 14:11) or by means of staggered payments or instalments; or (e) transmit, convey, deliver, distribute, possess or prepare for sale; or (f) barter or otherwise exchange or dispose of for valuable consideration; or (g) import or export; or (h) donate or otherwise dispose of for use by others; or (i) manufacture, assemble or fabricate; non-standard personal protective apparel, materials or equipment.

"(2) any person who contravenes subsection (1) shall be guilty of an offence and liable to fine not exceeding level twelve or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year to both such fine and such imprisonment.

"(3) In the case of a company or other corporate body, the directors or members of the governing body shall each be liable together with the such company or body to the penalties specified in sub-section (2)."

Source - the independent

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