A gatekeeper at Gulu regional hospital wears a face shield made by local organisation Takataka Plastics to deal with COVID-19 shortages of personal protective equipment, Gulu, Uganda, May 2020. Photo Credit: John Okot / Thomson Reuters Foundation

HealthSociety Uganda25. June 2020

Corona: Start-Up Turns Plastic Waste to Face Shields

A social enterprise in Uganda that normally turns plastic waste into building materials used their resources to help make a change amid the COVID-19 pandemic: they began making face shields out of plastic bottles – and immediately grabbed a local hospital’s attention.

“The doctor from Gulu regional referral hospital requested we make 10 face shield masks urgently because they didn’t have enough,” says Peter Okwoko, co-founder of Takataka Plastics alongside his colleague Paige Balcom.

Just after the company delivered the first set of shields, the hospital called back. Okwoko adds, “They said they needed more face shields because the previous ones had worked out well for them.”

Since Takataka Plastics began making the masks in March, around 500 plastic face shields have been sold at a low cost to non-governmental organizations and private healthcare centers, according to Okwoko, with another 700 donated to public hospitals. Six of the fourteen staff working on the shields are homeless youths that Balcom and Okwoko have employed.

Thomson Reuters Foundation

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