The COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund has set aside Ksh 600 million to purchase locally produced Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) to cushion frontline workers across the country.
Speaking Thursday in Kitui after handing over assorted PPEs from the fund to Kitui County Referral Hospital, Equity Foundation Executive Director Reuben Mbindu said the COVID-19 Fund has set aside Sh 237 million to supply PPEs across 68 hospitals countrywide in its first tranche as counties ready themselves to take care of any coronavirus case.
“All the PPEs needed in the country will be sourced locally in a bid to ‘Buy Kenya Build Kenya’ and cushion local entrepreneurs from the ravages of Covid-19 that has shattered the economy,” said Mbindu.
He said that manufacturers have been trained and their capacity enhanced to meet international standards in the production of protective gears and hospital beds.
“All the money that Kenyans and corporates have raised will remain within the country. We are not importing anything at the moment unless it is something that we cannot manufacture locally at the moment,” said Mbindu.
The Equity Foundation Executive Director disclosed that the Covid-19 Fund is focusing on ensuring resources get to the counties and communities, because communities are the country’s greatest asset in overcoming these challenges associated with the pandemic.
He lamented that measures to stop the spread of Covid-19 have disrupted informal labour markets and led to significant income loss for many low-income households.
Governor Charity Ngilu, in her speech read by County Tourism Executive Koki Musau, said that the county had trained 211 healthcare personnel on COVID-19 quick response.
Commenting on the bed capacity for coronavirus patients, Governor Ngilu said that prototype beds have been given to Jua kali artisans in the county to make in the spirit of ‘Buy Kenya Build Kenya’ clarion call to empower local entrepreneurs.
“I am optimistic that we shall achieve the required threshold of the beds in all our Covid-19 isolation centres. These beds will be made locally within the county. They might not be like those imported ones but will definitely serve the intended purpose,” said Governor Ngilu.
She admitted that resources are available for procuring the beds adding that she wants the money to remain within the county by sourcing for local suppliers.
“We are ready to deal with the situation as it unfolds. If cessation of movement is lifted, we shall welcome back our children stuck in urban areas and those who lost their jobs back home before they find their footing again,” said Governor Ngilu.
She said the expected mass exodus from areas that were under cessation of movement might trigger a spike in the Covid-19 cases but added that the county will bolster its surveillance systems and testing to ensure the elderly and vulnerable groups and the general population is safe.
“Let our people continue to adhere to the Ministry of Health guidelines at all times to ensure that together we win the war against coronavirus,” said Ngilu.
The COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund donated 14,300 PPEs which included 5, 000 pieces of surgical masks, 7, 500 pieces of gloves coveralls, gumboots among others.