As the world races against time to win the war against the invisible enemy, Coronavirus, there is a gaping local need and a global shortage of Personal Protective Equipments (PPEs). This is the number-one weapon needed by the front-liners involved in the COVID-19 fight, to arm themselves to beat the virus. This shortage is occasioned by the fact that almost every country in the world today, including the superpowers, is in dire need of PPEs to combat the pandemic, which has collapsed businesses and claimed many lives. Ghana’s need for PPEs cannot be overemphasised.
Ghana’s response to the shortage of PPEs
As part of efforts to respond to the global shortage of PPEs and make them available to the front-line health workers, at all times, in Ghana, the Government through the Ministry of Trade and Industry commissioned five local manufacturing companies to produce some of the PPEs in the country.
One of the five local companies selected and tasked to manufacture the PPEs is the “Do The Right Thing” (DTRT) Apparel.
DTRT Apparel, which is the largest clothes manufacturer in West Africa, has the capacity to produce from 50,000 up to half a million units a week.
To show its commitment to the call to produce PPE locally here in Ghana, DTRT Apparel has converted its production capacity to the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) to meet the needs of the country.
This means that DTRT Apparel has the capacity to manufacture from 50,000 to 500,000 units of PPEs every week for Ghana.
“As the nation moves Beyond Aid and towards becoming a part of the global solution, we at DTRT remain committed to maintaining production of PPE and supporting response efforts for as long as PPE items are needed in Ghana, the sub-region or the World”, DTRT said in a communication to Ghana Talks Business.
Leverage its access to raw materials and technical know-how
DTRT Apparel will also leverage its access to raw materials and technical know-how to increase the production of PPEs to help provide adequate supply for frontline workers, in particular healthcare professionals, as well as the general public.
The company will now focus on the production of 3-ply fabric face masks (capacity of 500,000 a week), antimicrobial fabric face masks with anti-viral treatment following US Government-approved standards (500,000 a week), medical scrubs (50,000 a week), cotton gowns (100,000 a week), nonwoven laminated medical gowns (100,000 a week), coveralls (100,000 a week) and Level 3 bonded Hazmat suits.
Working with the Government – PPEs
“DTRT is currently working in close coordination with the Ministry of Trade and Ministry of Health to produce over 700,000 protective masks and over 100,000 other medical garments (scrubs, gowns, etc.) over the next two weeks for the Ghanaian people, with the capacity to make upwards of 5 million (5,000,000) masks over the next several weeks”, the said in the email.
Should DTRT Apparel utilize it full production capacity, Ghana may become an exporter of PPEs especially to sister West African countries hit by the pandemic.
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Alan Kyeremanten and Mr Matthew Kyeremeh, Advisor to the Minister of Health, recently paid a working visit to the factory to inspect its facilities.
“We were honoured to welcome a delegation led by the Minister of Trade, Hon Alan Kyeremanten and Mr Matthew Kyeremeh, Advisor to the Minister of Health, to the factory this past Saturday, 11th April, 2020 for a tour of our facilities”, they said in the correspondence.
They added that “we particularly appreciate the immense support of the Government of Ghana and the Ministers of Trade and Health to enable us to quickly re-tool the factory to supply these critically needed items”.
DTRT Apparel, based in Accra, Ghana, is West Africa’s largest apparel manufacturer and employs 2,500 staff.
The company is currently run by Madam Salma Salifu, who is serving as the Managing Director.
The company specializes in the manufacturing of high-volume items such as promotional-wear, work-wear and sports apparel for export to the US and EU markets.
DTRT Apparel operates according to its sustainability standard, “DTRT: Do The Right Thing” – which seeks transformational social change in the communities it touches.
Since inception, DTRT has trained nearly to 3,000 people and created 2,500 new clothes-making job to the teeming unemployed youth in the country.
DTRT Apparel’s staff strength is made up of more than 60% women, most of whom were unemployed before joining the company.
All employees receive family health benefits and ongoing professional development.
DTRT is also accelerating the transfer of knowledge to local staff through its management training programme, developing the 1st generation of Ghanaian apparel factory management.
By Salifu B.B. Moro