Currently BGMEA is planning to make at least 20,000 PPEs for donation
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) wants to export personal protective equipment (PPE) meeting domestic demand as their demand is growing across the globe amid coronavirus pandemic.
"Our ultimate goal is to export PPE to the rest of the world and we want to do it very fast," said BGMEA President Dr Rubana Huq on Sunday.
The apparel exporters have already extended their helping hands producing PPE following the standard set by the government for the health professionals in the country to fight against Covid-19, reports UNB.
The BGMEA chief said they are already in a discussion with a coalition of ILO, WHO, WFP, Unicef and other organizations and sought help from them to expedite the process of converting production capabilities available in Bangladesh to produce PPE.
"They will assist us with supply chain and technical knowledge sharing. This effort is ongoing," said Rubana Huq.
Currently BGMEA is planning to make at least 20,000 PPEs for donation.
"What we are making is a substitute of level-1 PPE," she said adding that healthcare providers who deal with coronavirus patients need level 3 to 4. Currently, it is just 100% waterproof and the design is close to a professional PPE and BGMEA suits will mostly be worn by support workers.
"We are helping with whatever we have right now for the protection of our health workers. Our fabrication and garments already got the approval from the Director General of Health Services (DGHS), and Ministry of Health. They have certified them as substitutes for level 1 PPEs," she added.
Rubana said currently many of BGMEA members are donating fabrics. "We are also planning to fund buying some fabrics."
She said the fabric mills who are also BGMEA members are selling the fabric at a very low price showing solidarity to everyone who is involved in the fight against coronavirus.
"We will be distributing the PPE to DGHS along with other Government and Semi-Government organizations. We are also working in a coalition with other organizations and NGOs as all our goals are the same," she added.
Rubana said they are alternatively sourcing fabric from China which currently has a lead time of 15-20 days because of severe delays in air freight routes.
"As soon as we can get the certified fabric we will be switching to certified and imported fabrics for our PPEs," she said
The PPEs are required not only for doctors and nurses but also for all the hospital employees.
According to BGMEA, law enforcement agencies and many other institutions are also asking for PPEs amid the coronavirus pandemic.
PPE suits are not natively made by Bangladesh garment producers.
The medical grade and WHO standard fabric is mainly imported from China.