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Current situation of protective equipment of health and social services

Ministry of Economic Affairs and EmploymentMinistry of Social Affairs and Health 3.6.2020 16.03 | Published in English on 4.6.2020 at 10.30
Press release 138/2020

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the demand for personal protective equipment for health and social services personnel is still high everywhere in the world. The start of domestic production will ease the situation in Finland.

The availability of surgical masks, respirators and protective clothing has improved compared to the situation two weeks ago. The estimate regarding the sufficiency of protective gloves and visors remains unchanged. For most protective equipment, use has decreased slightly compared to two weeks ago.

Hospital districts, municipalities and private health and social services companies are making approximately 90 per cent of the procurements of personal protective equipment in Finland. The purchases of established procurement organisations are supplemented with purchases by the National Emergency Supply Agency (NESA), which are based on procurement proposals by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health (MSAH). A total of six proposals for the procurement of personal protective equipment have been submitted.

With a mandate from MSAH and Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment (MEAE), NESA is maintaining a situation picture regarding personal protective equipment during the coronavirus pandemic. NESA is compiling a national situation picture with regards to the sufficiency and use of personal protective equipment of health and social services as well as ensuring their availability.

Information regarding the current situation is based on data from health and social services actors (the national coordinating group for national preparedness, the so-called “Logistiikka 5” workgroup), status updates regarding domestic production provided by MEAE and information of NESA’s own purchases and storage status.

Every two weeks, an updated summary of the current situation is compiled and published on the websites of NESA and MSAH. The previous summary was published on 20 May 2020.

The need for personal protective equipment varies per product category

A sufficient supply of personal protective equipment is essential during the coronavirus pandemic. The considerable increase in demand within a short period of time has had an impact on the sufficiency of different personal protective equipment while their availability has simultaneously decreased.

Currently, it is estimated that hospitals require approximately 400,000 surgical masks per day. The demand in the rest of the health and social services sector is approximately equal, resulting in a total daily requirement of 800,000 pieces.

It is estimated that approximately 24,000–58,000 respirators (FFP2 and FFP3) are required daily.

It is estimated that approximately 78,000–156,000 pieces of protective clothing are required daily.

Estimate on the sufficiency of personal protective equipment 

The sufficiency of different types of personal protective equipment can generally be described on the following scale: excellent, good, moderate, mediocre, poor. Based on current information and guidelines for use, the sufficiency and procurement status of different types of personal protective equipment is currently as follows:

The sufficiency of surgical masks is currently good.

  • The global procurement situation has improved compared to two weeks ago. NESA has made long-term supply contracts, comprising several consecutive deliveries, with international manufacturers.
  • Long-term procurement contracts have been made with suppliers that are starting their domestic production.  

The respirator (FFP2 and FFP3) status is moderate.

  • NESA is currently engaged in negotiations with international suppliers regarding long-term supply contracts.
  • Negotiations are underway with suppliers starting their domestic production and orders have been placed.

The protective clothing status is good.

  • Procurement is being focused on protective gowns in order to improve the situation.
  • International supply has improved.
  • Orders have been placed with suppliers starting their domestic production.

The protective glove status is good.

  • NESA has an existing long-term supply contract of protective glove deliveries and orders are being placed with other suppliers as well.

The protective visor status is good.

  • Domestic companies have begun manufacturing and supplying protective visors.

Sufficiency needs to be assessed regularly

In the exceptional circumstances, estimates of sufficiency are not exact and therefore it is important to assess the situation regularly.

The sufficiency of personal protective equipment is affected by their appropriate and correct use. On the other hand, due to the international market situation there are still uncertainties related to the procurement and delivery of personal protective equipment.

Although the main responsibility for procuring personal protective equipment lies with central hospitals, hospital districts, and municipalities’ health and social services, NESA also surveys the protective equipment market, negotiates with suppliers and aims to build long-term models of cooperation with different actors regarding deliveries of personal protective equipment. NESA also builds and guarantees longer-term logistics chains in order to ensure the availability of personal protective equipment.

Further information:

Lasse Ilkka, Senior Specialist, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 29 516 3714
Jyrki Alkio, Chief Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment tel. +358 29 504 7103
Janne Känkänen, Interim Chief Executive, National Emergency Supply Agency, tel. +358 29 505 1012