Faced with urgent need for coronavirus fighting equipment, Kenya has found itself turning to its poorly managed and underfunded manufacturing sector.
Stranded in a world where borders are closed and flights grounded, with no foreign country willing to part with face masks, personal protective equipment and ventilators, the usually ridiculed kenya manufacturing sector has come to the rescue of the nation.
From Kitui Textile turning into a surgical mask production line overnight, Rivatex producing thousands of PPEs within a short notice, KEMRI engineers reconfigurihg HIV testing machines to tests for coronavirus to Kenyatta University students developing ventilators, Kenya has proven that given proper funding and offered security through legislations, the manufacturing sector can produce nearly everything that we need for our day to day living.
Perhaps the strongest message of the sector’s potential came from the 16 Kenyatta university students who have developed a ventilator using locally sourced materials within a short period of time at a cost lower than the prevailing global prices.
Since the day Covid -19 landed on the shores of the human race, ventilator have become the most sort after piece of equipment the world over. Countries have threatened to go to war over them while the United States threatened to severe ties with their cousin Canada over them.
A single ventilator costs $30,000 approximately ksh 3 million while the students at Kenyatta University have developed a prototype that can be sold at Sh 500,000 making them way cheaper.
With the capacity to produce 50 ventilators every week, the University only awaits the government approval and necessary patenting procedures before kenya gains a foothold in the global manufacturing hall of fame.