Employees of Dessie PRC producing face shields at a workshop with support from an ICRC colleague. Abir MITRA / ICRC
The ICRC is assisting six physical rehabilitation centres (PRCs) in four regions to manufacture 3,000 face shields locally in support of the fight against the coronavirus in Ethiopia.
At the request and approval of the Ministry of Health (MoH), three of the PRCs in Bahir Dar and Dessie (Amhara) and Assela (Oromia) have already started producing face shields as of last week through material and technical support from the ICRC.
The first series of products will be soon handed over to the MoH for testing and conformity validation. Once approved, the production will be carried out. Three other PRCs located in Jigjiga (Somali), Arba Minch (Southern Ethiopia), Menagesha (Addis Ababa) are expected to follow suit, according to Francois Friedel, Physical Rehabilitation Program Manager with the ICRC.
The face shields will be used by medical personnel working at COVID-19 treatment centres established in various parts of the country.
Samples of face shields produced by Bahr Dar PRC. Getachew TULU / ICRC
Francois remarked, "The face shields will enable health professionals treating COVID-19 patients in a safe mode by reducing significantly the risk of getting infected."
Each of the six PRCs is expected to produce 500 face shields, as a first target, which will be handed over to the MoH for distribution among the treatment centres.
The face shields can be reused and are easily cleaned with soap and water, or common household disinfectants, Francois noted.
In Ethiopia, the ICRC's response to COVID-19 outbreak focuses mainly on supplying infection prevention and control items and other essential items to communities and health institutions, including vulnerable people like detainees, persons with physical disabilities and internally displaced people in support of containing the spread of the virus.