Peshawar: Twenty-two-year-old Qayyum Khan, a native of Daduzai, and his 12 other colleagues [these days] are busy in stitching protective gear for medical and paramedical staff in Peshawar as demand of protective gear has increased in the province with hike in spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Qayyum Khan and his co-workers were used to working in a tailor’s shop in Peshawar, but due to lockdown in March this year, the owner had to close the shop and send all of his workers home.
After being unemployed for a month, they decided to make safety kits and rented a large hall at Ring Road in Peshawar. Till date, they have produced more than 5,000 protective suits for non-governmental organizations and other aid agencies.
When Khan was asked how this happened, he responded “Necessity is the mother of invention”. Since start of the second wave of Covid-19, shortage of protective gear is being felt more in hospitals around the country as the number of patients testing positive for Coronavirus continues to increase and in such a situation, local producer can be a best option for state to reduce its dependent on imported PPEs which are costly and put heavy burden on the national economy, said Qayyum Khan while talking to The Reporters.
The tailor-cum protective gear producer says that he transformed his business from stitching men’s dresses to protective gear in March when the country-wide lockdown left him jobless. So far he has supplied thousands of protective gear to non-governmental organizations working in the province to facilitate the health sector.
To protect themselves from the Covid-19, they follow all Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and maintain a considerable distance from each other.
“During one month of my unemployment, first, I thought that I should start a cooking business with the support of female members but later I thought why not I should start making protective kits, which the state is in dire need in time of health crisis,” he said.
According to Khan, a suit made in a large factory cost Rs 700, but later increased to Rs 2,000, adding that locally made protective suit costs maximum Rs 500, adding that “This suit is unique from different aspects”, Khan added.
The local made suits are not damaged by washing or spraying while the rest of the suits available in the market are not reusable, he claims. “We use parachute cloth and this cloth is easily available in the local market,” he maintained.
Qayyum Khan said that many people in Peshawar are involved in making safety kits for medical staff, adding that earning from this business is good as compared to his previous business of stitching dresses as a tailor.
This is easier in stitching as a normal dress [shalwar and kameez] takes hours to stitch, adding that a more interesting element of local made suits is that there is less labor work and more money, Khan said.
He can stitch at least 10 protective suits in the time he was investing in stitching one suit, adding that earlier he used to earn Rs1000 a day but now returns home with good money in his pocket.
The tailor-cum protective gear producer said, “We have delivered more than 5,000 protective suits from March to October to different non-governmental organizations and aid agencies and more and more organizations and departments are approaching them.”
It is to mention here that the KP Social Welfare Department has also started making PPE kits, masks, sanitizer and other related items locally and for this purpose, it has established special centers in parts of the province.
The government established centers produced a total of 62,000 masks, 4,000 protective cassettes, and a large quantity of hand sanitizers from trainees and skilled labor force and these locally produced PPEs distributed to various hospitals, aid agencies and people working on the front line.
Dr Rizwan Kundi- President Young Doctors Association, Peshawar, said that he also prefers using locally made safety kits, adding that he considers locally made gear not only durable but cheap as well.
A locally made protective suit is available in market at the cost of up to Rs400 and another important feature of this local made suit is that it is reusable.
Dr Kundi said doctors usually used protective suits but the Covid-19 pandemic has significantly increased its demand, because now wearing protective suits is not only mandatory for doctors but for every staff member working in hospital.
Thus, the success story of young Qayyum Khan, belonging to a remote region of KP, guides us that every crisis brings many opportunities for us but the need is one should have motivation and courage to transform that challenge into an opportunity. This is what Khan did during his difficult times.