•The first 1,000 bodysuits for medical staff and 8,000 face masks for distribution to local boda boda riders, community health volunteers and enforcement officers are expected to be produced by Friday.
• There are fears that many people might test positive for the virus when mass testing starts countrywide and that the infections will strain medical facilities and equipment like PPEs and ventilators.
Dedan Kimathi University of Technology has partnered with Laikipia county government to mass-produce personal protective equipment and face masks to help in the fight against coronavirus.
The PPE is a clothing item worn by medical staff to protect them from infections and injury while at work.
The first 1,000 bodysuits for medical staff and 8,000 face masks for distribution to local boda boda riders, community health volunteers and enforcement officers are expected to be ready today (Friday).
The face masks are reusable.
DKUT vice-chancellor Ndirangu Kioni said on Wednesday that the country was fighting for survival against Covid-19.
“We must, therefore, do whatever we can do first even as we look for help elsewhere,” Kioni said.
He said the two institutions partnered to fill gaps in the fight against the virus that was declared a global pandemic in February.
Kioni said their network of entrepreneurs under innovation programme had come in handy. The university has trained eight local manufacturers who are working with 40 sub-contractors.
County head of innovation development programme Winnie Mwangi hoped that the Kenya Bureau of Standards and the Kenya Pharmacy and Poisons Board will speed up the approval all of the equipment.
Mwangi said the equipment was required urgently, hence the two agencies should consider the prevailing circumstances.
The two institutions were also working on mass production of ventilators and hand sanitisers through other SMEs under the Laikipia Innovation and Enterprise Development Programme.
There are fears that many people might test positive for the virus when mass testing starts countrywide and that the infections will strain medical facilities and equipment like PPEs and ventilators.
The Ministry of Health this week announced that the country is likely to have 10,000 coronavirus cases by the end of this month.
Mass production of the PPEs is part of the preparations that the county government is making as cases spread.
Although Laikipia has not recorded any Covid-19 case, a model released by its Department of Health indicates that more than 14,000 residents could be infected.
There are nine production centres at the university and by individual SMEs in Nyahururu and Nanyuki towns. Four other SMEs under the programme are producing hand sanitisers.
Edited by Peter Obuya