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Verification of innovations ongoing before they can be used

The Government is in the process of verifying all the innovations devised to fight Covid-19 to establish their compliance to standards and effectiveness before they can be put into use.
Industrialisation Chief Administrative Secretary(CAS) Lawrence Karanja said once the Kenya Bureau of Standards completes the verification exercise, the innovations will be recommended to the Medical Board that will establish if they can be put to use.
Speaking at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology(JKUAT) when he interacted with innovators and researchers who have developed various equipment to curb the coronavirus scourge Wednesday, the CAS said the effectiveness of some equipment especially ventilators needs to meet all the compliance standards and be certified effective before they can be put to use.
Karanja said already six organizations including Toyota Kenya, Kenyatta University, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology , Kenya Association of Manufacturers and Dedan Kimanthi University have all devised medical ventilators.
He said they will also recommend the innovations to small medium enterprises( SMEs) and other government agencies for use even in post Covid-19 period.
“Once we establish that the ventilators are effective, we shall recommend their usage to health centres and dispensaries post Covid 19. This will provide the Level 4 and 3 hospitals with the opportunity to install ICU units to ease pressure on the Level five and Referral Hospitals,” said Karanja.
The CAS at the same time announced that they were in the process of formulating a post Covid-19 policy to source and protect local innovations.
He said the move is to ensure that innovations made to combat Covid-19 pandemic do not go to waste even after the virus is eradicated.
“The idea is to put to use all the innovations and products manufactured during this period and apply them in other fields during the post-Covid period. It is a wake-up call, though a shame that it took Covid-19 for us to realise our potential as a country. Our innovators have proved that the country does not have to rely on products from other countries,” said the CAS.
Karanja was accompanied by the Principle Secretary Dr Francis Owino and JKUAT Vice-Chancellor Prof Victoria Ngumi.
He said the intellectual property rights for the innovators will be protected to ensure only them benefit from their innovations.
Last week JKUAT unveiled a number of innovations to help combat the Covid-19 pandemic among them two portable solar-powered prototype ventilators, a contact tracing application, a digital system that predicts Covid-19 infection trends in Kenya and an automatic solar-powered hand-washing machine.
The innovators’ dream is to partner with the government to make the innovations usable to be able to help in the fight against Covid-19.
“Developing the innovations is not only time consuming but expensive. It needs hundreds of thousands of shillings and thus we need support to see that our innovations are put into use,” said Victor Muthembwa, who with other two students have come up with a contact tracing app that has been successfully used in the transport sector to establish covid-19 contacts.
By Muoki Charles

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