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NGOs council roots for free internet access to actualize access to information in the wake of coronavirus

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 17 — The National Council of nongovernmental organizations is urging mobile service providers in the country — Safaricom, Airtel and Telkom — to liase with the government and provide Kenyans with free internet for a month to enable subscribers access vital information on coronavirus, a global pandemic that has so far claimed 7,000 lives.

The Council’s Chairperson, Moses Cheboi, Tuesday noted with free data, Kenyans will be well informed on the virus. Kenya has registered three positive cases with three more suspected cases awaiting confirmation.

“We request the government to work with mobile service providers to have internet supplied across the country as a matter of urgency to help people be updated and promote online learning,” Cheboi said while giving the council’s recommendations on what needs to be done.

He explained the move will go a long way in keeping Kenyans informed on what to do during a period of looming uncertainty.

“The country might lose alot if drastic measures are not taken,” he said.

Cheboi also urged the government to supply Kenyans with free sanitizers and masks as part of the measures to contain the spread of the virus.

“We ask the government thought the Ministry of Health for free to supply to all the citizens and that actions needed to contain the virus,” he said.

The NGOs council stressed the need to have the two crucial items made available to Kenyans considering some Kenyans may not afford them.

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Already, Chinese billionaire and businessman Jack Ma has offered to support the world in combating the virus by donating essential equipment to the US, Europe, Asia and all the 54 African countries.

The Jack Ma Foundation Friday offered the United States 500,000 coronavirus test kits and a million masks, amid an acute shortage of kits for diagnosing the potentially deadly disease.

To combat the potential surging demand for medical supplies and equipment in Africa, Ma said, “Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation will donate to each of the 54 African nations 20,000 testing kits, 100,000 face masks and 1000 medical use protective suits and face shields.”

Cheboi also urged banks and other lending institutions to review their credit facilities and consider zero rating interest during the period under which the pandemic lasts.

He also called on the political class in the country to unite and come up with measures to contain the virus.

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