Equity Group Foundation (EGF), with support from the Mastercard Foundation committed to provide sh1.1 billion towards Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to frontline medical staff dealing with COVID-19 patients in public hospitals in Kenya.
The commitment has been provided by Equity Bank (sh300 million) and the Mastercard Foundation (sh500 million) – a long-time trusted partner of EGF who are providing support as part of their Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program. The funding also includes a donation of sh300 million from the family of Dr. James Mwangi, the Founding Chairman of EGF and Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Equity Group Holdings Plc.
EGF will work in partnership with the Ministry of Health and the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund in this endeavor. This will ensure a coordinated effort on the national priorities of combating the pandemic, reap the benefits of economies of scale, maximise resource allocation and avoid duplication of efforts in the provision of PPEs.
Speaking while announcing the initiative, Dr. Mwangi said the initiative is meant to provide holistic support to young post graduate students especially in Kenyatta National and Referral Hospital (KNH).
“We invited the CEO of the Kenya Medical Association and a group of doctors from KNH and University of Nairobi where we established the need for PPE’s for medical staff handling COVID-19 patients in the country. A team of seven was formed to help structure this initiative,” Dr. Mwangi said.
He expressed gratitude to the medical professionals who subsequently formed a steering committee to organize the immense task of coordinating and actualizing this initiative:
They are Prof. Isaac Macharia, an ENT, Specialist who serves as chairman alongside Dr. Louis Litswa, Dr. Elizabeth Gitau, Dr. Chibanzi Mwachonda, Dr. David Kariuki and Alfred Obengo, the Secretary General-National Nurses Association of Kenya who are members. Its Secretary is Dr. Joanne Korir, Quality Assurance – Equity Afia
The committee will coordinate the implementation of the initiative to ensure availability of PPE’s across the country and will help to scale up a mental wellness support system for medical staff initiated by the Kenya Medical Association (KMA).
President and CEO of the Mastercard Foundation Reeta Roy said, “Health care workers are at the frontlines of caring for all of us, safeguarding community health. We must keep them safe. We are grateful that this partnership meets the immediate needs precipitated by COVID-19, which the Foundation is prioritizing through our Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program.”
Dr. Mwangi appealed to Kenyans to observe the recommendations from the Ministry of Health on social distancing, washing hands and sanitizing regularly, limitation of movement, self-quarantining when in doubt, and wearing face masks when in public.