PPE manufacturers to access standards free of charge: KEBS

Written By: Claire Wanja
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So far, there have been relatively few coronavirus deaths in Africa

The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) has allowed manufacturers and individuals to access specific Standards related to production of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) free-of-charge as the fight against COVID-19 spread intensifies.

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“KEBS is facilitating businesses – ensuring they produce items that meet the specific requirements as well as complementing government’s efforts to safeguard the health and safety of all Kenyans,” said Lt. Col. (Rtd) Bernard Njiraini, Managing Director.

Safety and performance are central to protecting the users of these items – largely helping to contain the spread of the Coronavirus.

The standards available on KEBS website www.kebs.org for free public access during this period include KS EAS 789:2013, for the Instant hand sanitizers; KS 2636:2016, for the Surgical masks; KS ISO 11193-1:2002, for the Single-use medical examination gloves – made from rubber latex or rubber solution; KS ISO 11193-2:2006, for the Single-use medical examination gloves – made from poly (vinyl chloride) and KS ISO 10282:2002, for the Single-use sterile rubber surgical gloves.

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The standards will be appropriately watermarked “Provided by KEBS. Limited Access during COVID-19 Emergency. Personal use only.”

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In the meantime, the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) on Friday held sessions with Manufacturers of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) who wants to start mass production of those gears that includes masks and gowns as the country steps up the fight against COVID–19 pandemic.

The manufacturers through the invitation of KEBS had enquired from the government agency the modalities and procedures the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME’s) have to follow to conform with the standards of making those gears for effectiveness and efficiency in protecting Kenyans in the wake of the Corona virus.

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Speaking at the session, KEBS Managing Director Lt. Col. (Rtd) Bernard Njiraini welcomed them and acknowledged their proactiveness and innovation when it comes to helping Kenyans deal with the pandemic. He emphasized the need for them to follow the right specifications for each products as provided by KEBS guidelines on quality and inspection.

“Our mandate as a regulator in the industry is to provide guidelines and leadership when it comes to production of these products and equipment – PPE. So that we can give level of confidence to Kenyans, we have to control what is being manufactured and offered for sale to ensure it conforms to the requirements of the respective Standards”.

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The KEBS boss further said, some of the equipment that will require some operation verifications like the ventilators will be reviewed by the technical committee in charge of the respective standards development.

Kenyans are therefore urged to be cautious when they purchase those PPE kits especially in the streets since some of them are not up to the required standard and may not help them in this pandemic protection.

Among the companies that attended the engagement session includes Dala Textiles, Bedi Investments, Gimzo cloathing limited, Waza Wazi clothings, and Texplast which has a capacity to produce one million meters of the recommended polypropylene material per day.

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