KUALA LUMPUR (March 25): The Malaysian Rubber Gloves Manufacturers Association (Margma) is warning of the possibility of there being a chronic shortage in medical gloves, despite the industry working on an overdrive to meet both local and international demands, amid the deepening COVID-19 outbreak.
While Malaysia’s requirement of 120 million pieces per year can easily be fulfilled, it is the demand from the rest of the world that is going to be very challenging. This is especially the case, given the partial lockdown or movement control order (MCO) that has been put in place, which allow rubber glove manufacturers to operate with just 50% of their staff, it said.
“This will mean only half of the normal quantity of gloves to be produced and it could really cause a chronic shortage to the world.
“Malaysia is the largest producer of medical gloves in the world and we are duty bound to ensure enough gloves are supplied to the hospitals and to all healthcare givers, in their fight to stave off this pervasive virus. We are expected to deliver about 225 billion pieces this year, which is about 65 % of total world requirements of about 330 billion pieces,” the association said in a statement today.
On that point, Margma said it will continue to talk to the government to allow members to operate at full capacity, together with the necessary support service and material suppliers.
The association said it is also gearing up its members to run at optimum capacity, with strict instructions to adhere to good manufacturing practices.
“We are also following Ministry of International Trade and Industry’s instruction of taking good care of our workers in providing them with protective gloves, face masks and sanitizers, plus the need to frequently disinfect the production floor and offices.
“There will of course be the extra overtime and for workers to be compensated accordingly and adequately with hardship allowance too. It is obvious that production will also be curtailed by the 50% policy, thus all in all, production cost will increase tremendously by at least 25% to 30 %, not taking into consideration the ripple effect that will pervade throughout the supply chain,” it said.
Margma has also advised its international buyers to prioritize their orders for hospitals, emergency and healthcare workers in this time.
“They have to ration their inventory, if they still have any inventory left, and to ensure gloves must reach the hospitals and healthcare people, not anywhere or anybody else. The front-liners are most important in our endeavour to contain and suppress the COVID-19 coronavirus,” Margma said.
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