The Kenya Covid-19 Fund Board, in partnership with Equity Group Foundation (EGF), has embarked on the distribution of locally manufactured PPEs to public hospitals for use by healthcare workers dealing with COVID-19 patients. The Ministry of Health has so far identified 68 public hospitals that will receive PPEs for up to 18 months.
On Wednesday 2nd July 2020, Kenyatta National Hospital and Mbagathi Hospital Infectious Diseases Unit received locally manufactured PPEs valued at Kshs 3,191,370. In the consignment was 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 their first consignment of PPEs valued at KShs 3,822,080. The distribution and last-mile delivery are being handled by Fargo Courier, an independent logistics service provider selected on the basis of their infrastructure and their robust and automated logistics capability, to deliver the PPEs across the country.
Speaking during the handover of the PPEs, Chairperson of the Kenya COVID-19 Fund Board Mrs. Jane Karuku, gave an assurance that the funds received at the Board were being well utilized through a governance structure that includes independent auditors. She expressed confidence in the board members’ skills, expertise, and commitment to ensure that the mandate of the Board is well executed with transparency and efficiency. She thanked the various Board committee chairpersons who are doing commendable work.
Dr. James Mwangi, who Chairs the Health Committee of the Kenya COVID-19 Fund Board said, “We are very delighted to witness the last-mile delivery of the PPEs to the public hospitals for use by our health care workers. We can now say with the fulfilment that the medical supplies value chain is taking shape. In just a few months, we have seen local manufacturers rise up to produce PPEs, many of them for the first time. They have quickly adapted their capabilities through capacity building and strong commitment. About six manufacturers have already attained national and international quality standards for the medical-grade PPEs proving that local solutions exist even for global problems. As a nation, we have what it takes to fight this pandemic.” Dr. Mwangi also said that the COVID-19 Fund Board through the Health Committee has embarked on the process of procuring the second batch of PPEs worth Ksh 400Million. “It is important to build a reservoir of PPEs to sustainably equip our frontline medical workers.”
Professor Isaac Macharia, the technical lead on the Health Committee of the COVID-19 Fund Board, and a renowned ENT specialist said, “As the medical fraternity, we are very pleased that the COVID-19 Fund Board, in partnership with EGF and KAM opted to equip local manufacturers to produce the PPEs for use by our frontline health care workers. This initiative has given the medical fraternity, through the Health committee of the COVID-19 Fund Board the opportunity to work closely with the local manufacturers in improving the quality of the PPEs. This is the first time that we are having the opportunity to co-create medical equipment to ensure quality standards. We believe that this collaboration will play an important role in the development of a health supplies ecosystem in Kenya that meets national and international quality standards. This initiative will also help to support the realization of a robust manufacturing sector which is part of the President’s big four agenda.”
In addition, Prof 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 with the financial support of KShs 85 million from COVID-19 Fund Board and Equity Group.
While receiving the consignment, Kenyatta National Hospital CEO Dr. Evanson Kamuri, noted that the PPEs will go a long way in protecting frontline workers that are providing medical support to COVID-19 patients at the two hospitals.
“The challenge of access to quality and a continuous supply of PPEs is not unique to Kenya alone, 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, Equity Group Foundation, and the Kenya Association of Manufacturers, which has resulted in a local solution to kit our hospitals with the much-needed supply of PPEs,” said Dr. Kamuri.
He further added that with the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the country, developing local manufacturing capacity for PPEs 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 PPEs. 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.
Speaking on behalf of the Hospital Liaison Committee, Senior Consultant Physician, Dr. William Sigilai reiterated the committee’s commitment in ensuring that the PPEs received are used properly by the designated COVID-19 facilities. “To have the PPEs delivered and handed over directly to the hospitals is a demonstration of the trust that the Kenya COVID-19 Fund Board and Equity Group Foundation have placed in the Liaison committees. We would like to assure our partners that all the items delivered here today will be well managed and used rationally by the medical team in the two hospitals,” he remarked.
The COVID-19 Fund Hospital Liaison Committees were established to support the management of PPEs in each participating hospital. They are mandated to receive, distribute, oversee proper usage, and re-order to ensure a consistent supply of the PPEs to the health care workers. The Liaison committees for each hospital comprises of nominated representatives from Equity; a Medical Doctor who is a member of the Kenya Medical Association (KMA) and/or Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU); Clinical Officer; and Nurses Association and Hospital Stores/Procurement in-charge.
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 PPEs comes 6 weeks after EGFs announcement in May of a Kshs 1.1 Billion (USD 11 Million) investment partnership with Mastercard Foundation, Equity Bank, and the family of Dr. James Mwangi which was donated towards the provision of PPEs 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 Equity Group Foundation 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 to maximize resource allocation and avoid duplication of efforts in the provision of PPEs.