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In the early stages of the outbreak in March where men accounted for as much as ninety per cent of reported cases/FILE

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Kisumu health workers demand withdrawal of uncertified masks

KISUMU, Kenya, Jul 30 – Kisumu health workers on Thursday demanded the withdrawal and replacement of surgical masks supplied to county health centres after the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) flagged them as uncertified.

The KEBS regional office, in a response to a request for an investigation filed by nurses in Kisumu on July 14, said the masks fell short of its standard specifications.

In a letter signed by Emelda Kogai, the KEBS regional manager said the surgical masks failed to meet the requirements of Kenya Standard Surgical Masks Specification denoted as KS 2636:2016.

Hillary Awili, the secretary of steering committee for health workers unions in Kisumu demanded the withdraw all the masks in the health facilities.

Awili said failure to act promptly will leave them with no option but to advise their members to stop reporting to work.

He said the substandard masks pose an imminent danger to the safety of their members.

“Despite raising this concern with the county government at various levels to withdraw the said mask and replace it, nothing has been done, yet healthcare workers are increasingly getting exposed to COVID 19 pandemic,” Awili said.

He said surgical masks are to act as an effective means to reduce risk of infectious transmission between infected and non-infected persons during healthcare procedures.

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Kisumu County Chief Officer Health Dr Joseph Okweso, when contacted, said the masks were procured through Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (KEMSA).

Okweso did not provide further details on the quantity of masks procured and how much they cost.

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