Strategies for Managing Acute Shortages of PPE during the COVID-19 Pandemic

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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 (1). However, due to the disruptions in the global supply chain of PPE, African settings may face the risk of an acute shortage of PPE.
African health systems should make the prevention of a crisis such as an acute shortage of PPE for health workers a priority. The COVID-19 response team/ IPC team should include planning for PPE shortages and this planning should be done in advance. There should be a plan for effective mitigations and clear triggers for implementation. Standard practice should be resumed as soon possible.
This guidance provides considerations and a series of options that can be used to inform country strategies to minimise risk associated with shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE).
Re-use and reprocessing of single use PPE must be a last-resort temporary measure that is implemented only until stocks are replenished (2).This remains an area of active research and further updates to this evidence base are anticipated.

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