By Samuel Migele

This year has seen Kenya undergo the first

wave of COVID-19, which brought with it losses

of lives and livelihoods, and also badly affected

the economy.

The Kenyan private sector joins Kenyans in

condoling and empathizing with those who

have been left devastated by this first wave.

KEPSA will work with fellow Kenyans to

support those who have been so badly


KEPSA has engaged its members and the

Government in combating COVID-19 over last 8

months by offering policy interventions and

private donations. We want to preserve the

gains made throughout this process. Already,

the private sector has ramped up production of

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as:

masks, sanitisers and other vital supplies.

The unexpected but very welcome benefits of

this manufacturing initiative are increased

linkages between large corporates and SMEs.

According to the Ministry of Health, the country

is now well into COVID-19’s surge of infections

and a worrying increase of deaths. Kenya’s

private sector is alive to the potential for even

more devastation, and once more we commit to

working with fellow Kenyans to minimize the

impact of this pandemic.

As we experience an increase in the numbers of

people infected by Covid-19, the country must

also reflect upon and apply lessons from the

first wave. It would be irresponsible,

unconscionable and unacceptable for us not to

do so. We appreciate Government’s vigorous

efforts in leading the fight against COVID-19,

and fully support these efforts. However, we

urge government to urgently and immediately

respond to the increasing numbers of infections

by working towards seeing the release of more

PPE’s to the frontline workers.

The first lesson is the absolutely critical need to

secure and support our medical fraternity, who

have been and remain at the forefront of our

countrywide efforts to stem the tide of

COVID-19 and putting their own lives in harm’s

way. One of the persistent complaints from

medical personnel has been about the lack of


It is imperative that the Government organize

the delivery of PPE to medical personnel

consistently and efficiently.

At the beginning of the Pandemic, Government

was quick to organise the release of seized

ethanol to Kenya Pipeline Company, who then

went ahead to oversee the manufacture and

distribution of 1.5 million litres of free

sanitisers to needy Kenyans. We urge a similar

sense of urgency and decisiveness to be

adopted towards the release and distribution of

PPE and other equipment by the Ministry of

Health directly or through its agencies.

Next is the urgent need to raise the standards

of our public and private health facilities.

Combating Covid requires well-staffed and well-

equipped hospitals to save lives. Sadly, we see

glaring gaps in hospitals’ readiness across the

Republic. With the rare exceptions on testing

kits and vaccines, all the required products are

in the country, but the supply chain is restricted

by lack of funding or release of existing funding.

We call for an urgent stock taking of all level 3,

4 and 5 hospitals and for the government to

prioritize funding for County health facilities

over any other expense, and ensure payments

to genuine suppliers, many of whom are owed

millions for months.

Our elected leaders need not fear to be treated

in their own County hospitals if they play their

oversight role better and being more

accountable in making sure hospitals are well-

equipped and staffed by qualified medical


The reaction of some leaders in calling for

special treatment to be treated for COVID-19

completely misses the point. COVID-19 knows

neither rank nor privilege and has shown us that

we must raise the standards of healthcare

provision for all Kenyans, which in turn calls for

prudent and transparent use of resources.

The Private Sector is not blameless in

propagating corruption in government

procurement. KEPSA will continue being on the

lookout for corrupt practices by its members,

and we are willing to be held to account. KEPSA

fully supports Government action in cracking

down on corruption.

Finally, we all must embrace behaviour change.

These are unusual times. We know what we

have to do. Wear masks when in public, or with

others. Keep safe social distance of one and

half to two meters. Wash your hands frequently

or sanitise. Work remotely where possible.

Minimise public gatherings. Adhere to all


As KEPSA remains committed to working with

the Government, and with all Kenyans, in

combating this devastating pandemic.

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