Around the world, countries are racing against time to secure medical and sanitation supplies to build up their health care capacities and resilience to deal with the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic. This challenge is compounded by the fact that the international supply chain that typically produces and manufactures these products has been considerably disrupted by the pandemic, which has affected the manufacturing and shipping abilities of every country it has reached.
At a time of increasingly limited and unreliable import options, Jordan is racing to beef up its preparedness to contain and eradicate the virus at home, which has so far infected 154 people (https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/), a number that is expected to rise in the coming days and weeks. Government authorities are closely coordinating with leading private sector manufacturers to mobilize their production capacities to supply the country’s COVID-19 combating needs during these critical times.
Amongst those selected is MEDA partner RZ (Alhadaf Int. Co. For Importing & Industry), a leading packaging materials manufacturer in Jordan that received an Innovation Fund Grant through the MEDA Jordan Valley Links project to purchase state-of-the-art paper cup manufacturing machinery that is capable of producing millions of biodegradable disposable paper cups annually. The Jordan Valley Links project is funded by Global Affairs Canada (GAC) and implementing by MEDA Jordan
Pierre Kadet, Senior Director WAMENA; Rami J.Saheb, CEO RZ; Helal Ahsan Ul Haque, Country Director MEDA; Tarek AlFarra, Private Sector Liaison Advisor MEDA on a visit to MEDA Partner RZ in December 2019
In coordination with the Jordanian authorities, RZ and its core employees were given special security clearances to resume work on the 25th of March 2020 despite the strict law enforced curfew so that they can fulfill urgent orders of over a million single use disposable paper cups, wrapping and other packaging materials and 300,000 single use gloves, the latter of which will be provided by Rami J. Saheb, RZ’s CEO, to medical authorities free of charge.
Commenting on the resumption of work under these new circumstances, Rami J. Saheb, CEO, RZ (Alhadaf Int. Co. For Importing & Industry) said that “What doesn’t break us make us stronger, we will do our most efforts to overcome the current situation and support our country to the max we can”.
Amongst the immediate recipients of these much-needed supplies, which will contribute to COVID-19 response and preparedness, are Jordan’s hospitals, the Jordanian Army’s Military Consumer’s Establishment, Syrian refugee camps, and hotels that have now been designated as quarantine centers, and correctional facilities.
To ensure the safety of RZ employees, delivery personnel and end recipients, the following new contamination prevention safety protocols have been enacted:
- Maintain safe distancing amongst employees
- Provide all employees with facemasks, gloves and hand sanitizers
- Provide a thermometer to measure employee temperature before and during work shifts
- Halt digital fingerprint employee sign in and sign out
- Provide flexible working hours for some administrators
- Increase cleaning, sanitation and sterilization measures on all factory grounds and equipmentli/p>
- Sterilize delivery trucks
- Public health and safety officials to provide training about the dangers of the virus, safli olieration during a pandemic, protection and maintaining personal hygiene
- Place COVID-19 prevention focused instructional posters and banners
- Provide safe and sanitized transportation to all employees to and from work
For his part, Helal Ahsan Ul Haque, MEDA Country Director stated that “MEDA is happy to see equipment that it helped provide with Global Affairs Canada support being put to good use in Jordan’s efforts to combat the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). We will continue to provide all of the support that we can offer to RZ and our other partners in these challenging times”
MEDA Jordan is in close contact with RZ in this process and continues to assist other JVL project partners seeking to contribute to confronting and eradicating the virus in the Kingdom.