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Fake safety kits pose hazard

Published : 10 Nov 2020 09:45 PM | Updated : 11 Nov 2020 01:04 AM

Amid the growing demand for personal safety equipment thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, unscrupulous businessmen have flooded market with fake and substandard safety kits pushing public health in jeopardy.

Market source said unscrupulous businessmen are engaged in marketing uncertified personal protection equipment (PPE), hand sanitiser, oximeter, ventilator, face shield, and hand gloves across the country. 

Experts said the fake kits are creating a serious threat to public health during the ongoing pandemic which is feared to worsen in the winter.

They said the fake and substandard safety equipment might cause long-term damage to skin and different organs.

Many people buy safety equipment from street vendors, where the prices are a bit low, in their efforts to fight COVID-19 which has claimed over 6,000 lives and affected more than 4 lakh people in Bangladesh.

As there is no way to check the quality or efficiency of these products, sellers are simply fooling customers.

Dr Md Tajuddin Sikder, associate professor of department of public health and informatics of Jahangirnagar University, told Bangladesh Post, “The unhygienic and unsafe protective gear and sanitisers pose danger to public health as most of the street vendors are selling fake safety kits.”

“There must be strict regulations and monitoring on the sale of protective gear and sanitisers and on factories. People who are manufacturing these fake products must be punished,” he mentioned.

Talking to the Bangladesh Post, Javed Ahmed, president of Dhaka chapter of Bangladesh Medical Instruments and Hospital Equipment Dealers and Manufacturers Association, said the wholesale market for medicines and surgical products is at Mitford in Old Dhaka. Medical equipment and imported health products are supplied across the country from this market. But since the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic, the sidewalk (footpaths) in the Mitford area have become the main market.

He also said, “People of other professions are bringing fake products and selling them on the roads of Mitford, Babu Bazar and Nazirabazar areas.”

The administration has been informed about this many times. But nothing worked, he alleged.

Talking to Bangladesh Post, many people said they are buying different types of safety kits from the street vendors as resendable price.

They said they cannot test whether the products are good, and that is why the government should ensure safe products on the market by strong monitoring.

Ruhul Amin, director of Directorate General of Drug Administration, told the media that they so far monitored and regulated PPE and sanitiser sales at different drug markets and could not focus on street sales.

He said that the police are supposed to carry out drives against the unauthorised trading in such spurious and unhygienic materials.