The Health Department is working with the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) and other investigative bodies, to ensure that personal protective equipment provided to healthcare institutions are of good quality, says Health Minister Zweli Mkhize.

This after four companies were charged and dozens more are being investigated for providing substandard PPEs which could pose a risk to healthcare workers amid the pandemic.

“We are disappointed but when there is a global shortage you suddenly realise that there are many people who will come with substandard stuff. SAHPRA must check all of those when they are registered. We also get the Institute for Health and Safety to work with us where there is suspicious quality and must report those who have got substandard quality.”

He adds: We must protect our health workers as they are the main force that must be protected. It is important for us to ensure we deal with it quite effectively.”

Speaking on SAFM’s Sunrise programme, a SAHPRA member in the Inspectorate and Regulatory Compliance unit says, “The biggest challenge with us are those that weren’t even licensed by SAHPRA to be conducting the business of distributing medical devices in the country. The ones that we have felt that were very clear violations, those were imported into the country. We usually have the gatekeepers in customs and borders blocking those from coming in if they are not licensed by SAHPRA, however, some get lucky and get through using different ports of entry.”

Below is the full radio interview: