AAN Reusable Mask Making Projects


The Kampala International University School of Nursing Sciences in coordination with the Kampala International University Nursing Students Association and with funding from AAN produced over 130,000 evidence-based reusable face masks and distributed these to Nurses, Nurse-Midwives, other healthcare workers, and the broader community.

The Kampala International University Nursing Students Association teamed up with the Uganda Nurses and Midwives Union for the production and distribution of 67, 000 reusable facemasks to nurses and midwives in rural and hard to reach clinics, who in turn supply this protective equipment to smaller health facilities in their districts that have critical shortages of masks.  This is accompanied by an education program on the guidelines for proper use and maintenance of the facemasks. The project began 1st May 2021 Expected end date is 30th August 2021.


The Malawi Association of Retired Nurses and Midwives and the Malawi Nursing Council are implementing a project to produce 30,000 evidence-based reusable face masks for frontline 30,000 face masks will be and distributed to retired nurses, frontline practicing nurses, student nurses  and retired nurses. The ongoing project is led by AAN Board Member Dorothy Ngoma, Special Advisor to the President of Malawi for Maternal and Child Health.


The Rwandan Association of Neo-natal Nurses in partnership with the Open Arms Golden Years Village have partnered to produce evidence-based reusable medical masks for neo-natal nurses, retired nurses, seniors and other vulnerable groups in various regions of Rwanda. The ongoing project is led by AAN Founding Member Fiona Mutoni, CEO of the Open Arms Golden Years Village.


The AAN grant to the Somalia Women’s Empowerment and Development Organization (WEDO) will see the production and distribution of reusable evidence-based face masks to nurses, midwives, and women and young girls living in Internally displaced persons (IDP) camps. The work will be accomplished in collaboration with 5 Health centers in Mogadishu and 5 IDP Camps in Lower Shabelle and Banadir regions, to prevent and stop the spread of the COVID virus.

In parallel, and using its own funds, WEDO is harnessing its expertise in public health messaging to implement a prevention advocacy initiative in the Somali language, regarding critical public health and sanitation behaviors recommended by health agencies during community mobilization and face mask distribution event.


The Eswatini Nurses Association Wellness Centre for Healthcare Workers began in 2021 with an ambitious project for local production of evidence-based reusable face masks, for 5 000 nurses, nurse-midwives, and nursing students, to provide protection from COVID infection and various other pathogens.  Communities and families will be secondary beneficiaries, following the protection of healthcare workers.

Key stakeholders include: University of Eswatini, fabric and design department for guidance on material and production, in accordance with AAN Guidelines; the Eswatini Standards Authorities to ensure adherence with local standards; the Ministry of Health Quality Assurance department for quality approval; the Eswatini Nursing Council as a regulatory body for Nurses and Nurse-Midwives.


AAN’s local partner, the International Voluntary Welfare Group (IVWG) based in Khartoum, identified an acute lack of PPE as the main reason that health workers in Sudan abandoned their posts ‘en masse’ when COVID surged. Estimated infections ranged as high as 8-15 % among health workers, particularly nurses and midwives. 

With funding from AAN, IVWG teamed up with a Sudanese self-help women’s group called Zag Rags, who under IVWG supervision started-up production of 20, 000 reusable medical facemasks to supplement government efforts in protecting health workers from infection. IVTG included a bar of soap in each package of two masks given out to nurses and midwives. ZAG Rags’ plan is to scale the facemask production as a sustainable income-generating activity. 

Support also goes to the Sudanese Critical Nursing Society and the Sudan Nursing Students’ Organisation to distribute the locally made masks to areas outside Khartoum where they are most needed for nurses and midwives and to educate the receivers of the masks on the guidelines for proper use and maintenance.


AAN’s local partner, the Zimbabwe Nurses Association (ZINA), is being supported to carry out their project to produce 25,000 reusable face masks (according to AAN guidance) to reduce the Covid exposure rate for nurses in an environment-friendly and sustainable way, aiming to reduce the rate of Covid transmission among nurses and vulnerable populations. 

ZINA is also working to establish a sustainable reusable facemask/tailoring workshop for retired nurses, to produce face masks at lower costs and provide a supplementary source of income for retired nurses. A Canadian church group has donated funds to help start this project.  A portion of AAN’s funding to ZINA is going to the purchase of sewing machines for this purpose. 


The AAN grant to Reproductive Health Network Kenya (RHNK) is supporting the local production of reusable face masks to mitigate the spread of COVID  among frontline health care workers within the RHNK network. The 3 layered reusable face masks with bacterial filtration efficiency are being provided to its members across Kenya’s 43 counties, reaching 80% of the nurses and midwives providing essential sexual and reproductive health services to the most vulnerable, facilitating the provision of sexual health services at the community level. Women, girls, and young people will be secondary beneficiaries in the quest to protect health care workers.

Target: The project targets 500 health facilities (hospitals, clinics, nursing homes), reaching  10,000 Network Nurse/Midwives across the country conducting  SRH information and service delivery sessions in the community.

Key stakeholder: The Technical University of Kenya Department of Fashion, Clothing, and Textiles for mass face mask production in accordance with AAN Guidelines; the Kenya ministry of health local standards and quality assurance guidelines; and, the WHO standard for face masks for health care workers.


AAN has partnered locally with the Lesotho Nursing Council (LNC) to produce 15,000 face masks, out of which 10,500 will be distributed by the Lesotho Nursing Council (LNC) to all the 4 CHAL Nurse Training Institutions.

The primary beneficiaries for this project are the nursing/midwifery students and their Educators in the four (4) respective CHAL training institutions who will be given 70% of the face masks for free, while the remaining 30% of the face masks will be sold to other nursing and midwifery personnel and the communities. These r face masks will be social marketed at low cost of M10,00 affordable to all, and the revenue generated from the sales will contribute to continued mask productions and continued sales.


AAN’s primary local partner, the Institute of Ubantu Health & Wellness, will receive funding to work with a youth group and retired nurses to produce 6500 masks.


AAN’s local partner, Rasangu University School of Health Sciences Dept of Nursing, Lusaka, will produce 145, 000 three-layered face masks for Health Care Workers to supplement government/Rusangu University efforts in the prevention of COVID.  The masks will be given free of charge to nurses, midwives, and student nurses, but 30% will be sold to the public, to sustain continued production of reusable facemasks and other PPE products beyond the project life.

The project provides capacity building for the Rusangu University Department of Nursing, in operating a tailoring shop which will extend to the production of other PPEs, such as nursing students’ uniforms, aprons, lab coats, and any other lab linens.


The Zanzibar Nurses and Midwives Council (ZNMC) is locally producing a sufficient and dependable supply of reusable medical face masks for nurses and midwives to be used in the workplace and promoting the permanent use of face masks among nurses and midwives to reduce new COVID and other airborne infections.

Additionally, ZNMC is rolling out community awareness and education program on the proper and effective use of reusable face masks, and their proper decontamination. The Council is coupling this with an advocacy drive encouraging the Ministry of Health Social Welfare to increase the budget for the provision of quality PPE for nurses and midwives and all health care professionals.