15th April 2020
KENYA FASHION COUNCIL STATEMENT ON NON-MEDICAL MASK FOR PUBLIC USE
The Kenya Fashion Council joins the rest of the world in combating the COVID-19 that has disrupted the lives of many people around the world. Kenya and the rest of Africa are anxious to keep the virus in check, dubbed ‘flattening the curve.’ The Kenya Fashion Council (KFCO) represents fashion designers, tailors and stakeholders in the fashion and apparel industry with a vision to create a vibrant fashion industry. The COVID-19 has presented a challenge that the KFCO is responding to by developing quality Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for frontline personnel and the general public in the fight against COVID-19. In this regard, the over 300 members are committed to developing over 10,000 masks in this initiative. A standard design has been developed (available in three sizes), a sterilization process and packaging guidelines.
The Kenya Fashion Council has identified the shortcomings of the masks available in the market and used the information coupled with other design factors to develop design standards. The fabrics have been sourced and tested through collaboration with suppliers. KFCO’s mask design is also informed by other government COVID-19 response initiatives that include communique from Ministry of Health (10-04-2020) and the Kenya Bureau of Standards (8-04-2020), World Health Organisation (6-04-2020), Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development (11-04-2020) and The Kenya Gazette supplement on Public Health (6-04-2020) among others. Arising from this, the following features relating to non-medical masks must be taken into consideration;
- Number of layers of fabric
- Breathability of material used
- Water repellence /hydrophobic qualities
- Shape of mask
- Fit of mask
- Fabric: Double layer of 100% cotton cloth; this is breathable
- Size: The pieces should be at least 10” by 6” to adequately cover the nose and mouth
- Packaging: The masks should be packaged for single users and distributed fromauthorized distribution points to safeguard hygiene, safety, and quality
Though the reusable non-medical mask does not prevent transmission of COVID-19, it reduces person to person droplet transmission and dispersion of droplets into the environment and this reduces the risk of transmission. It is appreciated that the masks alone cannot help reduce the risk. They must be accompanied by already stipulated hygiene measures of social distancing, handwashing and cough etiquette.
The Kenya Fashion Council is rallying its members to produce the non-medical masks. The material that KFCO has recommended for the mask production is 100% cotton with a high thread count. This is with reference to scientific research by Davis et al (2013) that indicates that a single layer of cotton fabric has a 69%-74% filtration efficiency against 1-micron particles. KFCO has already developed two design patterns for the masks with the corresponding measurements and instructions for fabrication. The measurements provided are 10” by 6” for an adult size mask and 7.5” by 5” for a child-size mask. The masks will have a double layer in cotton fabric as per MOH directives. This design information has been dispatched to all designers and tailors to ensure uniformity and quality standards. Further, KFCO recommends sterilization of masks post-production and before they are dispatched to the public. In view of this, KFCO has sought partnership with a local sterilization centre that has the capacity to sterilize between 3,000 – 5,000 masks per day. KFCO also recommends that the masks are individually packed before they are dispatched to the public to avoid contamination at the point of sale. In addition, KFCO recommends that within the packaging, be instructions on how to use and clean the mask as part of maintaining hygiene standards. Regarding distribution, KFCO is continuing to engage physical and online distribution channels so that the much-needed masks can reach the public. KFCO will also continue their robust education campaign to educate the public on the need and use of masks.
Executive Board Chairperson, Kenya Fashion Council.
KENYA FASHION COUNCIL P.O BOX – 53214-00200 NAIROBI EMAIL: INFO@KENYAFASHIONCOUNCIL.CO.KE
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- World Health Organization – Advice on the use of masks in the context of COVID-19 – issued 6th April 2020
- KEBS-MOH joint statement on use of face masks – issued on 8th April 2020
- Kenya Gazette special issue – Supplement No. 41- The public health (Covid-19)restriction of movement of persons and related measures – issued on 6th April 2020
- Ministry of Health – Interim guidance for public use of face masks to reduce droplettransmission for COVID-19 – issued on 10th April 2020
- Davis et al, 2013 – Testing the efficacy of Homemade Masks: Would they protect in aninfluenza pandemic? Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness