Production of personal protective equipment launched in Finland as planned
Domestic production of respiratory protective devices and protective garments for the healthcare sector’s needs has begun in Finland.
This week, three companies have launched the production of surgical mouth-nose masks and face coverings. Production of medical gowns and aprons began earlier. Minister of Employment Tuula Haatainen and Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä gave an overview of the current situation at a briefing held on 27 May 2020.
“I would like to thank all companies that were able to launch domestic production of personal protective equipment in an exceptionally tight schedule. This proves that Finnish companies are able to react quickly and respond to changing situations and new needs as they arise,” Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä said at the briefing.
At the turn of March-April, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment launched a project aimed primarily at launching domestic production of protective materials needed in the healthcare sector. Production volumes are based on an estimate provided by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health of the need for such materials.
Finnish companies have been able to launch production in an exceptionally short time. Three companies – Filterpak Oy, Lifa Air Oy and Teho Filter Oy – launched the production of surgical masks and face coverings this week.
Production of respiratory protective devices will begin next week. Another three Finnish companies, Screentec Oy, SJT-Investment Group Oy and Eagle Filters Oy, are also about to launch the production of respiratory protective equipment. The equipment must undergo testing, and will be available to healthcare professionals after approval.
According to an estimate presented last week by the National Emergency Supply Agency (NESA), hospitals are currently using 450,000 surgical masks a day. Consumption volume is approximately the same in other healthcare and social welfare services, bringing the total consumption to almost a million masks a day.
The estimated need for respiratory protective devices, i.e. FFP2 and FFP3 respirators, is between 22,000 and 62,000, and for protective garments between 100,000 and 150,000 per day.
“Once the domestic production facilities are operating at full capacity, they should be able to provide enough surgical masks and respiratory protective equipment to meet the healthcare and social welfare sector’s needs. Similarly, we have the capacity to launch high-volume domestic production of protective garments,” Minister of Employment Tuula Haatainen notes.
Production of face shields and protective garments began in April. The hospital districts have ordered face shields and individual batches of medical gowns and aprons from domestic manufacturers but have not concluded long-term supply contracts with protective garment manufacturers. NESA is currently negotiating contracts with Finnish manufacturers for the supply of protective garments.
Last week, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health submitted a procurement proposal to the National Emergency Supply Agency, underlining the importance of domestic production for the security of supply. This proposal makes the NESA better equipped to conclude supply contracts for protective materials with Finnish companies.
“Domestic production of protective equipment will remain important after the coronavirus crisis when demand for products returns to pre-crisis levels. If a similar crisis occurs in the future, Finland must have the capacity for domestic production of protective equipment from the start. This must be our long-term approach to the security of supply. We must take steps to ensure we will never again be in a situation where we have to start domestic production completely from scratch. From the security of supply perspective, this is a problem to which we must find a permanent and sustainable solution,” Minister Haatainen concludes.
Inquiries:Antti Siika-aho, Special Adviser to the Minister of Economic Affairs, tel. +358 50 575 4118
Timo Nevaranta, Special Adviser to the Minister of Employment, tel. +358 50 340 9483
Petri Peltonen, Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 50 62663
Jyrki Alkio, Chief Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 40 342 4476