The Federal Government has given an order to scientists under the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC) to immediately start designing World Health Organization standard face masks.
It asks the scientists to immediately start studying the materials used in designing the standardized masks inside and outside, ensure that the open spaces cannot admit COVID-19 virus.
The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu who gave the directive said that Nigerian entrepreneurs and manufacturers will be made to work with the design created by these scientist to begin mass producing for the nation.
He stated this Saturday in Abuja, while he was on a facility tour of the RMRDC headquarters.
He said, “We need to make sure we find solutions to this problem confronting not just our nation but the whole world.
“We have come here to see what you can do very quickly to help us make contributions to find solutions to the problems of COVID-19, I must say that we are absolutely impressed with your efforts to go into the wild and get a tuber from which you have been able to extract pharmaceutical grade starch, this is a very important contribution that you have made because we can use casava, maize to do this but you decide to use something that is not edible but available that can give us pharmaceutical grade starch which we have been spending billions to import.
“For the treatment of COVID-19 patients, they need drugs and the base for these drugs is starch, so this is a major contribution. I will like to get RMRDC to do something that is very important to our nation, today, the recommendation of both our Minister of Health, the Director General of NCDC and the Presidential taskforce is that we use face masks and we can’t continue to import everything into the country, this will put a lot of strain on our resources so we will like to direct RMRDC because we are satisfied that we have high quality scientists in this country that can do this for the nation, we want you to take this face masks, look at it carefully, study it, analyse and design it.
“Look at the textile materials used, both inside and outside and ensure that the open space is such that will not admit this dangerous virus that causes COVID-19, work with other agencies with similar mandates to standardize it because that is the key, the standard should be one that conforms with the World Health Organization standard for face masks. Ones you can do this, then we believe very strongly that our entrepreneurs and organised private sector should be in a position to now produce these masks in large quantities to meet the needs of Nigerians and be in the position to export to other countries.
“I think that this is a directive that we are giving to this council and we believe that this council can do it, we want to assure you that the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology will give you every support to make sure that this is done and we believe very strongly that this will be very useful to our nation because it is going to help us in creating jobs.”
The Director Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals Department RMRDC. Dr. Buga Lawal had earlier explained to the minister that the council had come up with five projects and researches that if given the support, they can deploy to help the country economically get back to its feet at the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said, “The council has achieved success in pharmaceutical grade starch, caustic soda and precipitated calcium carbonate, sweet sorghum value chain, pharmaceutical grade talc, which all have links to what the country is going through now.”
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