PHILANTHROPY

Testing kits donated by Jack Ma arrive

Consignment consists of 100,000 masks, 20,000 test kits and 1,000 protective gear

In Summary

•Amoth said the donation will go a long way in the efforts to preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

•He said donation will immediately be put into use to enhance capacity with the existing kits

The kits at JKIA on March 24,2020
HELP: The kits at JKIA on March 24,2020
Image: VICTOR IMBOTO

Kenya has received testing kits, protective gear and medical equipment from Chinese billionaire and Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma to combat the coronavirus.

The consignment, which arrived at JKIA from Addis Ababa on an Ethiopian Airlines flight on Tuesday, consisted 100,000 masks, 20,000 test kits and 1,000 protective gear.

Kenya is among 54 African countries to benefit from the donation by Jack Ma.

The consignment was received by Ethiopia’s Ambassador to Kenya Meles Alem and the Director of Public Health Patrick Amoth.

Amoth said the donation will go a long way in the efforts to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

He said the donation would immediately be put into use to enhance capacity with the existing kits.

“We shall equip our National Influenza Centre, as well as all our Kemri testing centres here in Nairobi, Kilifi and Kisumu,” Amoth said.

Priority will be given to personal protection, especially for those working in isolation centres such as Mbagathi.

“I want to assure Kenyan health workers of their safety and that the people of Kenya are solidly behind them,” he said.

Jack Ma promised to issue 1.1 million testing kits, six million masks and 60,000 medical use protective suits and face shields that will be distributed among all 54 African nations.

He announced that each African country would receive 20,000 testing kits, 100,000 masks, 1,000 medical protective suits and face shields.

The plane carrying the kits upon arrival at JKIA on March 24,2020
DELIVERY: The plane carrying the kits upon arrival at JKIA on March 24,2020
Image: MAGDALINE SAYA

The first batch of the equipment arrived in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa on Sunday with more supplies set to be shipped in the coming weeks.

“This is a global pandemic that requires global concerted and coordination efforts. All of us risk infection and thus with such collaboration, we can be sure of winning,” Meles said.

Jack Ma in a statement last week said it was time Africa took precautions and prepared ahead of time while at the same time learning lessons from other countries that were the first to be hit by the virus.

“We cannot ignore the potential risk to Africa and assume this continent of 1.3 billion people will blissfully escape the crisis. The world cannot afford the unthinkable consequences of a Covid-19 pandemic in Africa,” Jack Ma said.

He added: "This crisis is proving to be more difficult and longer lasting than any of us expected. We must make every effort to get prepared.”

Jack Ma noted that his foundation would start working with medical institutions in Africa to provide online training material for Covid-19 clinical treatment.

Edited by Henry Makori