Kenyan hospitals could soon be using locally made ventilators following Trade CS Betty Maina’s directive that a prototype be made in a week.
This follows a meeting between the CS and the four Kenyan innovators behind the model. Maina directed the relevant government agencies to give the innovators whatever they needed to develop the ventilator.
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The CS asked the Kenya Industrial Development Institute (KIRDI), Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), Kenya Institute of Education (KIE) and the Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI) to provide Samuel Kairu Ndegwa, Dr Joseph Munyiri Nderitu, Paul Kariuki Kamau and Peter Kabue Ndegwa who came up with the model some Sh200,000 to help them produce a prototype that meets international standards by the 18th of this month.
Demand for medical equipment has surged worldwide making it difficult to procure them since the countries of origin are the first consideration with the fight against the covid-19 coronavirus.
Kenya’s manufacturing sector has been hit hard by the spread of the virus which originated in China with the government rushing against time to try and equip hospitals and health workers.
Already, Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu has repurposed the Kitui County Textile Centre in Kitui which produces gardening attires to a full time factory producing face masks.
The Trade Ministry has been busy visiting production sites to ensure that the needed equipment and PPEs are meeting standards.
Last week, Health CS Mutahi Kagwe said that the ministry is in the process of hiring 1,000 health workers to boost capacity but the challenges are far from over since there is an acute shortage of personal protective equipment.
“We are scaling up the acquisition of PPEs to our health care facilities countrywide. However, following the outbreak of the disease worldwide there has been a global shortage. The government has however resolved to get the same through our local manufacturers,” said Kagwe in his Tuesday briefing.
He said that the government is in the process of engaging the EPZ to manufacture face masks and suits to be distributed countrywide.
“In the same vein, we are also looking at the manufacturing of protective suits for our health care workers. As per our modelling which we are working with at the Ministry we have already quantified the needs of the PPEs and come up with allocation criteria in our critical clinics,” he added.