The Ministry of Health is setting up a Covid-19 testing laboratory dedicated for truck drivers at the Mombasa Teaching and Referral Hospital.
The new laboratory which will be unveiled next week is aimed at fast-tracking the testing of truck drivers and speed up the movement of cargo from the port of Mombasa to other countries in the region.
Health Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Rashid Aman also announced that results for Covid-19 will be relayed digitally in a move aimed at easing the evacuation of cargo from the port.
Dr Aman said the records for those who have undergone testing will be confirmed electronically at points of entry and exit.
The CAS said this in Mombasa on Thursday during the handing over of Personal Protective Equipment to Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) to support its fight against Covid-19.
The equipment worth Sh100 million was donated by the European Union (EU) through TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) to protect frontline staff at the port of Mombasa. They consisted of reusable masks, hand sanitisers, hand washing points, disinfectant spray, infrared thermometer, safety boots, full protective gowns and face shields.
Those present included EU Ambassador to Kenya Simon Mordue, State department of East African Community (EAC) Principal Secretary Kevit Desai, KPA General Manager for Operations Captain William Ruto and TMEA Kenya County Director Ahmed Farah.
Dr Aman thanked EU for its continued support to Kenya’s fight against Covid-19 saying the donation will protect workers at port and border points to ensure that trade continues uninterrupted.
The Health CAS praised KPA for putting in place measures that ensured Covid-19 cases at the port dropped drastically given that at one point, the facility was the epicentre of the disease in Mombasa County.
“If this pandemic teaches us anything, it is that we do not have a choice between preserving life and reviving our economy,’’ added Dr Aman.
On his part, Mordue said the port of Mombasa is the most important gateway in East and Central Africa and that it is imperative to make it a safe place to work to ensure smooth flow of cargo and support regional economies.
The envoy said the EU has so far spent Sh40 billion to support Kenya’s efforts to combat the contagion disease through several initiatives including medical equipment and training for health care workers.
KPA acting Manging Director Rashid Salim said the donation made by the EU was timely and crucial in ensuring the Port of Mombasa continues to offer world class services and operations that largely contribute to the regional economy.
In a speech read on his behalf by KPA General Manager for Operations Capt William Ruto, Salim said Mombasa Port was experiencing shortage of supplies of PPEs for its frontline workers causing delays in port entry and exit procedures.
He noted that the Authority has put in place elaborate measures in conformity with the Ministry of Health Covid-19 protocols which have significantly slowed down infection cases at the port.
By Mohamed Hassan