UMA Moves to Assess Compliance of Members Towards Implementation of Covid-19 Directives

UMA ED Daniel Birungi touring Steel & tube Implementation of Covid-19 SoPs

Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA) an umbrella body bringing together all manufacturers in the country has visited members to assess their readiness as far as implementation of Covid19 Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) is concerned.

During this visit Daniel Birungi the Executive Director of UMA revealed that one of the main objectives is this process being conducting in conjunction with Ministry of Health is to identify a training and certification programme for manufactures.

"Those who have observed the directives on top of putting in place right safety measures will receive recommendation ad act as examples to the others."

 "We have recognized that it is our role as a body that brings together manufacturers to first of all assess our readiness as manufacturers for managing Coovid-19."

Birungi pointed out that since covid19 infection in the country is at community level the employees have high chances of being exposed from their communities and thus calling for a need to have proper channels of handling such emergencies.

Dr Aggrey Batesaaki, Assistant Commissioner in charge of inspection, Standards and Compliance in Ministry of Health pointed out that during the tour they identified some gaps that need to be worked on to ensure a safe environment.

"Their environment is not talking Covid-19 for example they did not have much posters and I have advised them to put them in place so that anybody walking into the factory can be reminded about the SOPs” advised Dr. Aggrey.

Mr Deo Kayemba, the Vice Chairman for UMA was impressed by the preparedness exhibited by Manufacturers and he called upon them to continue putting employees’ life at the fore front.

Mr Edwin Kenneth Kalungi, in charge of safety and ISO systems at Steel & Tube Industries Ltd informed the visitors that they screen temperature for all visitors before going through full body disinfection.

"All person’s records are taken to monitor their location, names and temperature. Upon entering to every office, one has to follow the guidelines of the walkways. They are restricted from interacting with any staff besides the one you intend to visit to minimize on contacts.”

According to Simon Kaheru, the Public Affairs and Communication director Coca-Cola Beverages Africa, they identified that the key element in managing Covid-19 was communication to change behavior. “In every single meeting, all staff are required to recite a pledge; I am my brother’s keeper; I am my sister’s keeper; I am my family’s keeper as a constant reminder of implementing the Covid-19 guidelines” he added.

After the visit, UMA promised to set up a Covid-19 task force for manufacturers who will draft Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to guide Ministry of Health as it sets these guidelines for manufacturing firms.

Prior to this visit, manufacturers held a virtual meeting in which they interfaced with various key players and experts in numerous sectors on how they can improve on working conditions of workers and clients in observance of set guidelines.

While addressing fears of closing companies, Dr. Aggrey Batesaaki, noted that Closing off a company because of a confirmed Covid-19 case does not stop the spread of the virus but warned manufacturers to be extra vigilant in maintaining SOPs.

“Once a company registers a case, Ministry of health is available to work with companies to weigh the options of curbing further spread of the virus within the premises without a total shut down” he added.

“Government is passionate about moving our economy further, and that his ministry is not happy to close the economy considering the vital role manufacturing plays in keeping our economy moving in such unprecedented times."

Currently the Ministry of Health is in process of developing Consolidated Standard Operating Procedures for Manufacturing.

The companies inspected included Steel & Tube Industries Ltd, Coca-Cola Beverages Africa and Cipla Quality Chemicals.

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