Kenya: Govt Urged to Support Local Manufacturers Involved in Fights Against COVID-19

Nairobi — HACO Industries Managing Director Mary-Ann Musangi has urged the government to support local manufacturers involved in the production of the necessary gear to aid the war against COVID-19.

Mary-Ann says with the industry having been subjected to a significant loss of revenue in the past three months, the government's support in purchasing items produced by local manufacturers like Personal Protective Equipment, sanitizers, face masks among others will help sustain the economy and support livelihoods.

"It is very important for us to buy our own brands, buy Kenya build Kenya, that is very critical," she said, "If the corporates and the government do not buy our products then many companies will be forced to shut because it will not be sustainable."

HACO Industries is among companies producing sanitisers. The company is working in partnership with East African Breweries Limited to manufacture Amara Antibacterial sanitizers, some of which is distributed for free as part of measures aimed at combating the pandemic.

Mary-Ann said with government support, local companies and industries will be enabled to create more jobs.

"COVID-19 was initially a bit of a shock because we lost about 70 percent of the company's existing business," she said.

She said local manufacturers have proved beyond reasonable doubt that their products especially those that are directly used in the fight against the virus-like sanitizers, protective gear, disinfectants among others are of high quality and can be exported.

"In the last three months as a county we have made an improvement. For instance, if you look at the protective gears produced locally, they are of very high quality, even the masks and sanitisers," she said when a team from the Ministry of Industrialisation toured the facility to shoot a documentary on the production of sanitizers and disinfectants.

The support has seen major hospitals in the country like Kenyatta National Hospital, Coast General Teaching and Referral Hospital among others supplied with free Haco-produced sanitizers to help patients and healthcare workers fight the virus.

Kenya is projecting its peak for the virus infections from August through to January, and has even declared schools closed until 2021 for safety reasons.

President Uhuru Kenyatta lifted travel restrictions to and from the capital Nairobi, the coastal city of Mombasa and Mandera in the northern part of the country Monday, but extended a night curfew until August 6 in a curfew approach following a surge in coronavirus cases in many parts of the country.

On Thursday, 447 coronavirus cases were recorded, the highest on a single day, raising the caseload so far to 8,975.

The new cases were detected from 3,803 samples tested since Wednesday from various parts of the country.

"Today we have the highest number of cases ever since, we have 447 cases in the past 24 hours," said Mutahi Kagwe, Kenya's Health Cabinet Secretary, "everyone must take this matter very very seriously because you can see the cases are increasing by the day."

The Health CS said 173 fatalities had been recorded since March, after four more patients succumbed to the virus.

"But I am also glad to announce the discharge of 64 patients who have recovered from coronavirus," he said. So far, 2,657 patients have recovered in the country.

All the 47 counties are under pressure to procure at least 300-bed capacity for isolation as the country moves closer to its projected peak.

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