Getrude's Hospital CEO Robert Nyarango speaking during a past event. The hospital has acquired a Ksh200 million loan to boost COVID-19 fight from StanChart. {Photo: Diamond Media Comm's}

Gertrude’s Hospital on Tuesday secured a Ksh200 million loan from Standard Chartered Bank Kenya drawn from the lender’s global USD1 billion (Ksh108.4 billion) COVID-19 warchest tailored to help businesses that provide essential services in the context of COVID-19 scale up operations.

The credit line advanced at a “preferential rate” will be used to bolster the hospital’s fight against COVID-19 and to support the hospital’s cash flow due to the additional requirements to treat COVID-19.

According to Birju Sanghrajka, The Head of Global Banking, Kenya & East Africa at StanChart, the loan will go a long way in helping the Gertrude’s procure additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), additional staffing and manage its cash flow

“Coronavirus continues to put pressure on the healthcare system in the country and many hospitals have had to adjust to this new reality which has also meant that they make additional investments in equipment and consumables,” said Mr. Sanghrajka in a press statement issued on Tuesday.

Gertrude’s Hospital Chief Executive Officer Dr. Robert Nyarango said the COVID-19 pandemic has put a strain on their resources exercabated by the need to invest heavily in PPEs, medical equipment, and hospital structures in order to adapt to the new normal.

“The outbreak of the Coronavirus disease COVID-19 has meant that we now have to spend more to ensure every healthcare worker has appropriate PPE for their protection during this period. We also have had to increase our staffing to ensure that there is an adequate pre-screening process for patient safety and to identify potential cases prior to entrance to Gertrude’s medical facilities,” Dr. Nyarango said.

“This has been of great benefit to us considering the cash outlays required at this time of COVID-19 with a plunge in business and capital required to meet MOH guidelines for patient safety,” added Dr. Nyarango.

Standard Chartered set up the $1 billion global fund in March to extend not-for-profit financing to companies that provide goods and services to help the fight against COVID-19, and those planning the switch into making products that are in high demand during the pandemic period.

Companies lined up for the funding include all those associated with helping to tackle COVID-19, including manufacturers and distributors in the pharmaceutical industry and healthcare providers, as well as non-medical companies.

The fund is also tailored to offer a comprehensive support scheme for retail and business customers, including loan repayment holidays, fee waivers or cancellations and loan extension facilities.

“The bank intends to provide, at preferential rates, at least USD1 billion of financing to those companies in the form of loans, import/export finance or the working capital facilities that they use for day-to-day business operations to help them tool up, and help existing manufacturers get their products to market,” the lender said in a statement in March.

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