Frontline health workers and those at high risk of contracting the covid-19 coronavirus in Nairobi and Kisumu will receive hand sanitisers to protect them from the disease.
Some 135,000 litres of packed sanitisers will be distributed in a partnership between Kenya Breweries Limited (KBL), Amref Health Africa (Amref) and Kenya Red Cross for the emergency.
The initiative follows the appeal by the Kenyan government for individual well-wishers and corporate organisations to play their part in the fight against the disease. KBL is spending over Shs 50 million in the programme.
KBL engaged certified sanitizer producers to produce 1,000,000 pieces of 100ml sanitisers, 500 pieces of five-litre bottle sanitisers and 2,500 pieces of 500ml sanitisers, which will be shared between Amref Health Africa and KRCS for distribution in Nairobi specifically to the informal settlements of Kibera, Mukuru, Mathare and Kawangware and, Kondele and Obunga in Kisumu.
KBL Managing Director Jane Karuku said: “KBL is fully aware of the evolving covid-19 situation and the potential impact especially to frontline health workers and vulnerable communities across Kenya. We have explored the interventions needed and made the decision to forge ahead with sanitizers, identified by the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a critical deterrent against the spread of the coronavirus.
While hand-washing has been prescribed as a basic precautionary step against the coronavirus spread, millions of people in informal settlements are at heightened risk of contracting the coronavirus due to the lack of proper sanitation and running water. We aim to provide these sanitisers free of charge and ensure they get to the most vulnerable members of our communities.”
Amref Health Africa and KRCS will be responsible for the prompt supervision, monitoring and coordination of the distribution process.
Dr Githinji Gitahi, Amref Health Africa CEO, said: “An adequate response to the covid-19 pandemic must be a whole of society approach. To win the war and flatten the curve, we must observe public health measures as advised including physical distancing and handwashing with running water and soap. But we are also aware that in some instances, hand-washing with soap and water may not be practically possible and as such, the need for alcohol-based sanitizers arise and this may be the case in many of our informal settlements as well as workplaces and public transport. This donation, therefore, comes at a crucial time in our response and I want to thank KBL and Diageo. These are extraordinary times – and no one can do it alone.”
Dr Asha Mohammed, Secretary-General, Kenya Red Cross Society said: “We are all aware of the challenges faced by people in informal settlements with regard to access to sanitation facilities and this makes them highly vulnerable to contract covid-19. This donation is therefore timely.”
The contribution is one of the interventions by KBL following a nationwide awareness campaign that has distributed over 10,000 posters in retail outlets, sensitising the public on how to combat the virus.
In the last week, KBL has also been helping the government distribute another batch of sanitisers across counties, using its robust distributor model.