Strategies for managing acute shortages of personal protective equipment during COVID-19 pandemic
Recommendations for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) are detailed in the Africa CDC guidance on the use of personal protective equipment for different clinical settings and activities. However, due to disruptions in the global supply chain, some African countries may face the risk of an acute shortage of PPE.
Preventing a crisis such as acute shortage of PPE for healthcare workers should be prioritised by health authorities in Africa, and in this context as part of the COVID-19 response. The COVID-19 response team or IPC team should include actions to prevent PPE shortages in their planning, as adequate planning may minimise the negative consequences of an acute shortage. Planning to prevent critical shortages should be done in advance, with clear triggers for implementation and resumption of standard practice.
This guidance provides considerations and a series of options that can be used to inform country strategies in managing any shortages of personal protective equipment.Re-use and reprocessing of single-use PPE must be a last resort temporary measure to be adopted until stocks are replenished. The WHO and other agencies are currently conducting research about this and further guidance will likely become available soon.