The Power of Protection

PMI AIRS Project donates personal protective equipment to farmers, safeguarding them from exposure to pesticides

The President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) Africa Indoor Residual Spraying (AIRS) Project takes great precaution to ensure its employees are safe and protected from exposure to insecticide. The PMI AIRS Project requires spray operators to wear personal protective equipment (PPE), such as coveralls, boots and gloves, to reduce potential health risks.

AIRS Ghana donates used but functional equipment to the chairman of the farmers group. The used personal protective equipment was cleaned or decontaminated before the donation. Photo: AIRS Ghana

AIRS Ghana donates used but functional equipment to the chairman of the farmers group. The used personal protective equipment was cleaned or decontaminated before the donation. Photo: AIRS Ghana

Each year, the project must either store, recycle or discard used PPE that is being replaced by newer equipment. Rather than disposing of the still-functional PPE, which is cleaned or decontaminated, the PMI AIRS Project in Ghana recently donated the used equipment to the Bontanga Irrigation Farmers Association in Kumbungu District, one of the five districts in which the project operates in Ghana.

The local famers often spray herbicides and pesticides on their crops without any form of protection. AIRS Ghana donated nearly 200 rubber boots, 1,846 coveralls, 60 pairs of hand gloves, 700 neck covers, and 650 spray bags to the farmers’ association, which is also supported by USAID through the Feed the Future and AfricaRice projects.

The farmer association’s Cooperative Chairman, Mr. Sulley Alhassan, thanked the PMI AIRS Project for the donation. He explained how beneficial the donation is as the famers face the challenge of needing to control weeds and pests, which are managed through the use of chemicals hazardous to humans, without PPE. The farmers were handling the chemicals with their bare hands.

Mr. Alhassan also noted that the donated boots would help protect the farmers’ feet against leeches and snakes. He said the donation of the PPE was such “a relief for the group” and that the items were “part of the capital needed by farmers”.

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