The Kenya Covid-19 Fund board, in partnership with the Equity Group Foundation (EGF) has embarked on the distribution of locally manufactured personal protective equipment (PPE) to public hospitals for use by healthcare workers dealing with Covid-19 patients. The Ministry of Health has so far identified sixty eight public hospitals that will receive PPE for up to eighteen months.
Yesterday, Kenyatta National Hospital and Mbagathi Hospital infectious diseases unit received locally manufactured PPE valued at Kshs3,191,370.In the consignment were disposable gowns, surgical masks, N95 respirator masks, nitrile gloves, head/hair covers, shoe covers and gumboots.
Kenyatta University Teaching and Referral Hospital had earlier received the first consignment of PPE valued at KShs3, 822,080. The distribution and last mile delivery are being handled by Fargo Courier, an independent logistics service provider.
Speaking during the handover of the equipment, chairperson of the Kenya Covid-19 Fund board Mrs. Jane Karuku, gave an assurance that the funds they have received to date were being well utilized through a governance structure that includes independent auditors. She expressed confidence in the board members’ skills, expertise and commitment in executing their mandate.
Dr. James Mwangi, who chairs the board’s health committee said: “We are very delighted to witness the last mile delivery of the PPE to the public hospitals for use by our health care workers. We can now say with fulfilment that the medical supplies value chain is taking shape.” He added that the board through the health committee has embarked on the process of procuring the second batch of PPE worth Kshs. 400Million.
Professor Isaac Macharia, the technical lead of the health committee observed: “As the medical fraternity, we are very pleased that the Covid-19 Fund board, in partnership with the Equity Group Foundation (EGF) and the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) opted to equip local manufacturers to produce the PPE for use by our frontline health care workers.” In addition, Professor Macharia commended the various medical professional associations who have teamed up to facilitate psychosocial and case management training for over 50,000 health care workers dealing with Covid-19. They have received financial support of Kshs 85 million from the Covid-19 Fund board and Equity Group.
While receiving the consignment, Kenyatta National Hospital chief executive officer Dr. Evanson Kamuri, noted that the PPE will go a long way in protecting frontline workers who are providing medical support to Covid-19 patients at the two hospitals.
“The challenge of access to quality and a continuous supply of PPE is not unique to Kenya, as the same insufficiencies are being experienced globally and at a much larger scale. We are indeed grateful for the partnership between the Kenya Covid-19 Fund, EGF and KAM, which has resulted in a local solution to kit our hospitals with the much-needed supply of PPE,” said Dr. Kamuri.
He further added that with the increasing number of Covid-19 cases in the country, developing local manufacturing capacity for PPE will help meet the current and future demands of the crisis.“We know that we have not reached the tail end of this pandemic and we are glad to see that the committee is looking into future demand for PPE. Our health workers and their families can now be assured of protection when caring for patients at our Covid-19 handling medical facilities,” he said.
Also at the event was the Principal Administrative Secretary, Office of the President and Secretary of the Kenya COVID-19 Fund, Mr. Kennedy Kihara and Dr. George Ooko, chairman Kenyatta National Hospital board.
The distribution of locally produced PPE comes six weeks after EGF’s announcement in May of a Kshs 1.1 billion (USD 11 million) investment in partnership with Mastercard Foundation, Equity Bank and the family of Dr. James Mwangi which was donated towards the provision of PPE for frontline healthcare workers. The investment was committed to the Kenya Covid-19 Fund, which made a matching donation, creating an effective and efficient collaboration between the Ministry of Health, the Kenya Covid-19 Fund and EGF designed to ensure a coordinated effort on the national priorities of combatting the pandemic and allowing the initiative to reap the benefits of economies of scale.