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 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.