By Farhad Naibkhil
KABUL: Afghanistan will now be manufacturing protective equipment to be used against a rapidly spreading COVID-19 disease, which has coalesced with a depleting protective equipment.
The country’s first-ever factory to produce protective medical equipment was established and operated in Kabul under the auspices of the Health Ministry in a bid to protect doctors and nurses in frontline of the fight against the novel coronavirus.
Afghanistan is seeing an exponential COVID-19 spike as confirmed infections surpassed 714 on Tuesday across the country as the pandemic claims 23 lives.
Speaking at inauguration ceremony of the factory on Tuesday, Minister of Public Health Ferozudin Feroz said the factory has the capacity to produce 300,000-500,000 protection kits.
Afghanistan needs 1 million protective kits, each costing $60. There is also an acute shortage of these kits in the global market, said Minister Feroz. “This factory will provide each kit for only $5, which helps the ministry to safe around $ 45-50 million, he added. The factory will produce protective kits and masks as well as over 1000 people were granted job opportunities. He stated that this factory will produce 10,000 protective kits daily. In advance health personnel including nurses will be concentrate, later police forces, he noted. He said that the kit will be made of water prove polyester, which is common in all other countries and is standard. He said that in second step MoPH will exert efforts to establish a factory to produce sanitizers’ liquids in the country. Pointing to the country fragile economic condition, he said that “we don’t have the affording ability in the international markets, thus we must have innovation.” Dr. Feroz said that MoPH will reduce working hours of health personnel’s fighting against Covid-19 epidemic and increase their privileges. In order to help further infected patients the ministry will pave the ground for psychologist through providing protective kits, he mentioned. While insisting for using of all means to protect health personnel, minister said that the MoPH door is open for all those doctors and nurses, who want to work with the ministry in fighting coronavirus. Meanwhile, Public Health Minister hinting to the 49 new cases of Covid-19 recorded in the country in the past 24 hours, said that 18 new positive cases of coronavirus reported in Kabul, 15 in Kandahar, six in Balkh, four in Herat, four in Ghazni and two in Nangarhar provinces. He said that by these new cases the total number of infected Covid-19 reached to 714 cases in the country. He elaborated that so far 40 infected patients have recovered and 23 others passed away due to coronavirus. Since report of the first case of Covid-19 in the country around 50 days ago, “we” have dealt well with this pandemic and the reason is on time lockdown and precautionary programs, he claimed. Calling announce of lockdowns on the right time an effective strategy, minister said that lockdown caused reduction in rapidity of the spreading of the virus. He elucidated that the only effective prevention steps are to avoid participating in gathering under any name anywhere. People must follow precautionary advises as well as lockdowns to keep safe families and society. Hinting to poverty, which is the main reason behind coming people out of home, minister said that government exert utmost efforts to address poor people challenges, but only government cannot address all issues, thus it is required of rich people to help needy people during crisis as well. He said that also MoPH will make a criterion for testing of suspected Covid-19, adding that it is impossible to test all people.