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Major boost as Nakuru manufacturers realign to production of PPEs and sanitizers to combat Covid-19

By Kennedy Gachuhi | April 24th 2020 at 09:00:00 GMT +0300

Workers at Bedi Investments Textile factory producing Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) for use by the heath workers in the hospitals in Nakuru on April 22, 2020. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

The war against coronavirus has been intensified with various manufacturers in Nakuru town increasing the output of their production lines to meet the high demand for essential products.

The companies include textiles giant Bedi Investments, which was primarily producing garments for export to Europe. Jaswinder Bedi, the company manager, said they received approval from the government to produce Personal Protection Equipment (PPEs). They have since rolled out mass production.

“We have stopped production of garments for export and now focus on manufacturing PPEs. Kenya is at war with the virus and we must equip our frontline soldiers, who are the medics, for them to give their best,” said Bedi.

He added that it took the company two weeks of research and consultation with global experts to have consensus on the quality of PPEs to produce.

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“We are producing 5,000 sets of PPEs, which include masks and gowns. We had 400 workers, who would have been laid off but instead we employed more,” said Bedi. 

Higher production

The company now intends to expand its production and roll out 10,000 sets per day in the next one week to meet the local demand.

“Having changed the model of our business, we are looking into supplying other neighbouring countries, but Kenya comes first,” he said.

Bedi said the company will make a donation of masks to the local community and ensure the residents access them at subsidised costs.

Governor Lee Kinyanjui lauded the company’s work, adding that his administration will support the local manufacturers by procuring the products from them. 

“The national government has approved the products from the textile factory. The county shall procure its next batch from the company to promote local industries during these tough economic times,” said Kinyanjui.

A production line for hand sanitisers is under construction at the Menengai Oil Refineries, which specialises in manufacture of edible oil, soap and detergents. The company’s General Manager, Nishil Sanghrajka, said demand for soap and sanitisers has grown exponentially since Covid-19 cases were reported in Kenya, which informed their decision to diversify.

“We are working on production of sanitisers. It was not among our products. In a week’s time the production line will be up and running. We have also increased our soap production,” said Sanghrajka.

The company, alongside Pepea Millers, which produces maize flour, made massive donations of soap and flour to the county emergency response committee for distribution to the needy.

Nakuru Royal Industries Chairman Yusuf Hassanali explained that the company increased its production capacity for water tanks necessary in supporting sanitation.

“We have donated water tanks to police stations and various households across the county. We have also subsidised our prices to make them more affordable during these hard times,” said Hassanali.

Hands on deck

All Technical and Vocational Education and Training institutions in the county have  been directed to start mass production of face masks in the wake of novel coronavirus pandemic.

The County Public Health Department has urged companies and institutions to make masks that meet standards set by the World Health Organisation.

“Principals and instructors have been informed on how the masks should be made to ensure they meet the set standards,” said Governor Kinyanjui.

Masks from the institutions will further be subjected to quality tests as per the Kenya Bureau of Standards and Ministry of Health before they are made available for public use.

Mr Kinyanjui said they will provide the necessary materials for production of quality masks amid protests by a section of medics that what has been supplied was of low quality.

Meanwhile, the County Emergency Response Committee received foodstuff donations worth Sh300,000 from Nakuru business community led by Mwangi Muthee. The food will be given to vulnerable households in Kivumbini, Rhonda and Bondeni, among other low-income areas.

“We have donated maize flour, beans, cooking oil, and sanitisers. We ask other stakeholders to support the initiative,” said Mr Muthee.

 


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