President of the Malaysian Rubber Gloves Manufacturers Association (MARGMA), Denis Low has sounded an alarm that there could be a chronic shortage of medical gloves in the battle to contain and suppress the COVID-19 Coronavirus worldwide.
Malaysia is using about 120 million pieces per year and this can be easily fulfilled as Minister of Health (MoH) has given assurance that there will be no shortage.
The association believes that the demand from the rest of the world that is going to be very challenging as there is the MCO, whereby rubber glove manufacturers are allowed to operate with just 50 percent of its original work force.
“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,” Low says.
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.
The country is expected to deliver about 225 billion pieces this year, which is about 65 percent of total world requirements of about 330 billion pieces.
MARGMA will continue to talk to the Government to allow us to operate at 100 percent capacity together with the support services and material suppliers, we must all work in tandem.
“We are fortunate that MITI has done a good job and we wish that approvals provided shall be continuous for the duration of the MCO,” says Low.
“We believe that many Governments of the World would be writing to our Government to seek its consent for our industry to operate at optimum capacity in order to supply this very critical medical gloves,” he added.
MARGMA has also advised international buyers that they need to be disciplined in their forward sales to their own clients, they must forget about other users but to concentrate the supply to only the hospitals, emergency and healthcare workers only.
Low further points out that 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,” he highlighted.
Meantime, MARGMA is gearing up its members to run at optimum capacity with strict instructions to adhere to good manufacturing practices.
The association has also assured that there will be the extra overtime for workers and they will be compensated accordingly and adequately with hardship allowance too.
The production will also be curtailed by the 50 percent policy, thus all in all, production cost will increase tremendously by at least 25 to 30 percent not taking into consideration the ripple effect that will pervade throughout
the supply chain.