23.04.2020

Moldova: from protective covers for cars to protective suits for medical staff

The coronavirus is posing enormous economic challenges, including in Moldova. Companies are using new solutions to produce protective clothing for medical staff.

The corona pandemic is having a massive impact on national economies around the world. Supply shortages and weak demand are forcing companies to scale back their production and employees are losing their jobs. How can firms respond to this situation and steer a path through the crisis? A creative solution can be found in South-East Europe.

In Moldova, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is advising the Ministry of Economy and Infrastructure as well as private enterprises. The objective is for companies to grow and the number of jobs to increase. Yet as countries combat the coronavirus pandemic, the mandate of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation requires flexible approaches: GIZ is now helping companies to temporarily expand their production to include the manufacture of protective clothing for medical staff.

A company that usually makes protective car covers is now producing full-body medical suits. These keep out microscopic air particles and therefore protect health workers from becoming infected with the coronavirus. Manufacturing the suits is a complex task. GIZ helped with regard to certification in accordance with European standards and developing the digital pattern. It also established contact with potential customers, such as hospitals. An initial order for 45,000 protective suits is currently in production, and a further 45,000 suits can follow within six weeks.

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Another automotive supplier also obtained certification and is now manufacturing protective visors. Together with two other companies that are converting their production lines, the medical protective equipment requirement in Moldova can now be met by local manufacturers. The products are competitive, both in terms of quality and price, and are replacing imported items. This domestic production is helping to preserve jobs that would otherwise have been lost due to a lack of orders during the corona crisis. By mid-April, some 350 full-time posts had been retained, and the number is rising.

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