Babajide Sanwo-Olu, governor of Lagos State, Thursday, opened the O-Care medical face mask factory in Odofin Park Estate, Amuwo Odofin Local Government Area of the State, saying the development was timely.
It was the first indigenous medically graded face mask manufacturing company in the state.
The factory is a subsidiary of Transgreen Nigeria Limited, a local manufacturer of medical equipment, such as respirator, ventilator, hand gloves and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
The O-Care face mask is said to be the first certified medical face mask locally produced in Nigeria in line with World Health Organisation (WHO) standards.
The governor said the idea of setting up the factory was necessitated by the shortage of medically treated PPEs experienced in the wake of the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
He said he was personally elated by the development, in that the first indigenous face mask production factory was built in Lagos.
According to him, “I am personally excited to attend this event, because Lagos is recording another first for a good cause. The establishment of the first indigenous factory producing certified medical face masks represents the can-do spirit of Nigerians. As a Government that supports fresh and progressive ideas, we will continue to celebrate and encourage good innovation.
“Orakpor deserves commendation because he has not let the pandemic affect his investment drive in bringing about new business and products to fit our own environment. This is part of the narratives we are pushing as government. We can be the enabler for investors to set up businesses.
“If wearing face masks must be accepted as a new normal, we must be able to strategically domesticate solutions that can provide a ready market for our people. The opening of the factory is a confirmation of what we stand for as a government. We must be the catalyst to nurture ideas and support business.”
The governor disclosed that the State Government had started to work out modalities for the creation of an economic zone for healthcare delivery to drive more investments to the sector.
He said the government was looking at a long-term loan facility for operators in the health sector to achieve local production of scarce medical equipment and materials.
The governor hailed the factory owner’s audacity and resilience in investing his capital for the production of medical face mask, which he described as the most sought after product in this period of public health crisis.
To encourage the manufacturer, Sanwo-Olu procured 250,000 pieces of the O-Care face mask from the first production batch. He said the materials would be distributed to medical and emergency workers on the frontline.
Managing Director of Transgreen Nigeria Limited, Cyprian Orakpo, said the idea of setting up the company was born out of the embarrassing situation the nation found itself with the absence of local manufacturers of medical face masks in the country.
Orakpo said medical PPEs had become objects of national security, especially in the period when there is no curative vaccine to stop the spread of the ravaging Covid-19 pandemic, stressing that scarcity of the products could spell doom for the nation if there’s no local manufacturer.
“In this time when the use of medical face mask is highly recommended, we have risen to the occasion to fill the void in medically certified face mask production to contribute our quota in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic and to promote health security in the country,” he added.
The O-Care face mask is developed with three layers that offer substantial protection against dust, airborne viruses and bacteria. Its nose clip provides comfort for breathing and gives low respiratory resistance.
An official of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Kola Jinadu, who represented the agency’s Director-General, Chikwe Ihekweazu, said the company must be commended for the initiative, which he also described as “timely”.
In showing appreciation to the Governor for his support, the owner of the factory donated 30,000 medical face masks to the State Government. Sanwo-Olu ordered that the face masks be donated to Secondary School pupils who will be taking their examination from next week.