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Laikipia Partners with Varsity to Develop Covid 19 Gears

Laikipia County government has entered into partnership with Dedan Kimathi University of Technology (DEKUT) to train innovators on mass production of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) to help combat spread of Coronavirus.
The first 1,000 body suits for medical staff who come in close contact with infected people and 7,000 face masks for distribution to local boda bodas, community health volunteers and enforcement officers are expected to be produced by the end of this week.
“We are fighting against time for survival against this Covid-19. We must do whatever we can do as a country swiftly even as we look for help from elsewhere,” DEKUT Vice-chancellor Prof Ndirangu Kioni said during the training held last week at the institution.
Prof. Kioni said his institution and the county government of Laikipia were seeking to fill in some gaps existing in the fight against the virus and the network of entrepreneurs under innovation programme had come in handy.
“This protective equipment is designed to protect the medics from contamination while handling patients and unlike most of the protective equipment offered in the market is cost-effective and reusable,” Professor Kioni added.
The university has trained a total of eight local manufacturers who are working with 40 sub-contractors.
Ms Winnie Mwangi, the county head of innovation development programme, hoped the Kenya Bureau of Standards and the Kenya Pharmacy and Poisons Board will speed up the process of approving the PPEs considering the circumstances under which they were needed.
Under the partnership the two institutions are also working on mass production of ventilators and hand sanitisers through other SMEs that are under the Laikipia Innovation and Enterprise Development programme.
It is projected that the number of Covid-19 infections will strain medical facilities and equipment like PPEs and equipment like ventilators after the Ministry of Health announced that the country is likely to have 10,000 coronavirus cases by the end of April.
Mass production of the PPEs is part of the preparations that the county government is making as coronavirus cases in the country rise.
Although the county has not recorded any Covid-19 case so far, a model released by its department of Health indicates that more than 14,000 infections in a worst case scenario and up to 600 cases in the best case scenario should infections hit the area.
There are nine production centres at the university and by individual SMEs in Nyahururu and Nanyuki, four other SMEs under the programme are producing hand sanitizers.
By Martin Munyi

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