The Danish Government through TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) has donated testing equipment worth USD 93,594 (about UGX 300 million) to Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) for testing and ensuring that quality COVID-19 prevention safety products are sold on the Uganda market.
In addition to this equipment, the Government of Denmark through TMEA is facilitating the decentralisation of the UNBS testing centres in three major cities of Mbarara, Gulu and Mbale by purchasing laboratory equipment worth USD 1.8 million ( about UGX 6.3 billion).
According to David Livingstone Ebiru, the UNBS executive director, well as this testing equipment was procured to test COVID-19 prevention products such as face masks, surgical gowns, liquid detergents and sanitizers, it can also test Alcohol and Energy Drinks to ensure that they conform to consumption standards before they are introduced on to the market.
“I wish to thank the government of Denmark and TradeMark East Africa for this equipment and all their other investments in UNBS over the years. We are glad that we continue to be considered by development partners. Together with my team, we are committed to ensuring Quality Everywhere and this equipment comes in handy.”
Even though this equipment was delivered last year, it was officially handed over, yesterday 22nd March, 2022 by H.E Nicolaj A.H. Petersen, the Ambassador of Denmark in Uganda. Also in attendance were Zackey Kalega – the Ministry of Trade Commissioner Internal Trade and Anna Nambooze, the country director for TMEA Uganda and South Sudan
“Denmark is pleased that one of the interventions in this facility has been fulfilled and has been in use since last year. This equipment is used to test both locally produced and imported goods such as face masks, surgical gowns, clean air suits, respirators, sanitizers, and liquid detergents to monitor quality and performance for certification and consumer protection,” H.E Nicolaj A.H. Petersen said, adding;
“We have also learnt from UNBS that other than the COVID-19 prevention products, this equipment is also being used to test general textile products, paper products, toilet products and liquor. This is a very good thing as it shows the relevance of this equipment post COVID-19.”
The equipment received includes; Rapid Alcohol Analyser used for determination of alcohol content, pH meters used for determination of the pH levels; Differential Pressure tester for determination of breathability; Splash Resistance tester for determination of resistance to penetration and Bursting Strength Tester for determination of bursting pressure strength.
The above equipment are being used to test both locally manufactured and imported face masks (both medical and non-medical), surgical gowns, drapers, clean air suits, respirators, sanitisers, liquid detergents and other products such as alcoholic beverages which include spirits, vodka, gin, rum, beer, Kombucha and juices, soft drinks and textile materials, for conformity assessment which is in line with the UNBS mandate of consumer protection and strengthening the economy of Uganda by assuring the quality of locally manufactured products to enhance their competitiveness in regional and international markets.
Anna Nambooze, the TMEA country director for Uganda and South Sudan noted that ‘with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, TMEA realised the need to ensure continued safe trade. TradeMark East Africa designed the Safe Trade Emergency Facility (STEF) to ensure that, despite the pandemic, trade in essential goods continues with minimal interruption.
“Together with partners, we defined essential goods as priority food value chains, medicaments, personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, and hygiene products such as sanitizers and soaps. Through STEF, TMEA initially facilitated safe Trade-Supply of PPEs to border crossings in Uganda and across East Africa.” Anna Nambooze said.
“Upon the realisation that local companies were manufacturing masks and sanitiser among other PPEs, TMEA with DANIDA funding worked with UNBS to increase its capacity through procurement of the necessary equipment and consumables to undertake rapid assessments and tests.” Anna Nambooze said.
“The equipment supports the Government of Uganda’s efforts towards curbing the spread of Covid-19, other respiratory and communicable diseases through the availability of PPEs that comply with international standards.” Anna Nambooze said.
Zackey Kalega – the Ministry of Trade Commissioner Internal Trade applauded the Government of Denmark and TradeMark East Africa for equipping UNBS with latest technology equipment for curbing the sell and consumption of sub-standard goods.
“As the ministry of Trade, we thank our development partners for this equipment and all their other trade facilitation contribution over the years. This equipment not only ensures that we have quality goods on the market but also helps our manufacturers to improve their production standards and compete internationally.” Zackey Kalega noted.