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Cheap COVID 19 Gears to Be Made Locally

The government has embarked on manufacturing of cheap protective masks and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE’s) to tame further spread of Corona Virus disease.
Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Trade and Industry Betty Maina said Kenyan textile industry was tasked with mass production of the gears to bridge the acute shortage of the face masks and PPEs required for management of the highly contagious disease.
Speaking at Afya house during the daily briefing on the status of Coronavirus in the country, the CS presented samples of the gears but said they were due to be submitted to the their Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) for testing and confirmation of compliance to recommended quality.
She said the industry was provided with enough stock to produce at least 60 million masks for a start.
“We have instructed them to get in touch with their distribution chain and make this available to even tailors and other people in the villages so that we can expand our capacity as quickly as possible”, she added.
Maina said the four fabric manufacturers whose production capacity met the standards were contracted to distribute the mask over the coming days assuring that “I am certain by today we actually have at least 1 million masks available and already in the distribution channel.
“We have also confirmed and the indication we received from the manufacturer and the retailers, given the volumes of production, we don’t expect any of the masks to sell for more than Ksh20”, the CS said
On the disposable PPE gear that will be worn by medics, Maina said they were already certified by the Ministry of health and KEBs after they met the appropriate standards adding that they will even be much cheaper compared to those imported.
She also made known that the Government was working on a plan to assemble ventilators locally and in a way will promote the textile industry..
Chief administration Secretary, Dr. Mercy Mwangagi said the masks and PPE had undergone the different qualification processes, with KEBs and medical practitioners and Dentists Board to ensure that their quality marched the imports.
Giving the update of the situation on Coronavirus , the CS said that in the last 24 hours a total of 362 samples were tested out of which 12 people have tested positive for the coronavirus.
“Out of this number eleven (11) are Kenyans and one (1) Somali National. This now brings the total number of those who have tested positive for the disease in the country to 122”, she said .
At the same time, Dr. Mwangagi said a 6 year old boy has also succumbed to the coronavirus disease bringing a total number of those who have died to date to four (4).
“This child had a preexisting condition that causes immune suppression and affects the bone marrow, and just as we have been saying , when Covid comes in, it attacks those who may have immune compromised state and this is the same situation we experienced in the child”, she explained
The CAS went ahead to say that the twelve (12) people who tested positive have already been moved into isolation in the various health facilities and contact tracing had commenced.
The distribution of these new cases according to their Counties is Kiambu, Laikipia and Nyeri who had one (1) each, Mombasa had 2 and Nairobi had 7 with their ages ranging between 28 to 68 years.
The CAS also confirmed that in terms of gender, eight (8) were males and four (4) were females with the Nine (9) of the confirmed cases detected in 4 of the designated quarantine facilities, while three (3) were from suspected cases admitted in isolation units in various health facilities.
“To date we have managed to test 1433 samples from the individuals currently in quarantine facilities and are now remaining with 617 individuals to be tested” she said.
Mwangangi said the government had so far traced 1721 contacts and out of whom 1073 were tested and discharged after quarantined and that remaining 648 were yet to undergo the same process.
The CAS noted as the government continues with the level of preparedness and response, she appealed to those hoarding oxygen cylinders to release them.
Various offices and business institutions should also minimize the use of hard copies in their transactions and adopt the use of paperless mode especially for letters and other documents, she appealed.
In order to boost the capacity in Counties, Dr. Mwangangi also urged all members of the County Assemblies to halt their conflicts with Governors during this period and focus their energies in equipping the County health facilities in order to aid in fighting the disease.
“This is not to say that proper scrutiny and accountability measures must be overlooked. In fact, to the contrary, the County Assemblies must ensure everything is done within the law, but the processes must not be delayed at the expense of procuring services in our county hospitals”, Dr. Mwangagi said .
On the local transmission, Acting Director General Ministry of Health Dr. Patrick Amoth said based on the calculations, 25 to 30 percent of the cases that the country has so far are local transmissions.
Dr.Amoth said that the government has carried out capacity building for health care workers in all the 47 counties and now moving to the health management teams to be able to cascade training downwards to the sub county health management teams .
“We are having pockets all over in terms of distribution, all the way from coast to western and unless we take measures seriously we will have more and more pockets”, he warned explaining that if the clusters are not controlled they merge into bigger clusters , start snowballing effect and that is why government is firm in contact tracing.
“We have also been training the community health volunteers so that they embark on events based surveillance and able to pick up symptoms of Covid 19 within their locality ”,he said
Dr. Amoth said medics who came into contact with the child were put under necessary infection prevention measures including quarantine.
“We have also been in contact with Kenyatta National Hospital to ensure that that particular place was disinfected and all those patients moved elsewhere even as we are in the process of testing them.
Africa situation in the country shows that Algeria is leading with 986 cases, 86 deaths and 61 recoveries, followed by Egypt with 865 cases, 58 deaths and 201 recoveries.
By Wangari Ndirangu

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