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Presidential Delivery Unit (PDU) boss Andrew Wakahiu led a team of government officials to the workshop in Githunguri, kiambu County on July 15, 2020. Photo/PDU.

Corona Virus

President Kenyatta directs govt to buy 500 hospital beds from youth innovators in Kiambu

KIAMBU, Kenya July 15 – Two young innovators behind locally manufactured hospital beds have a reason to smile after the National Government ordered 500 of their beds to boost bed capacity in public hospitals currently under pressure from COVID-19-related admissions.

Mungai Gathogo, 26 and Joseph Muhinja, 35 who are based in Githunguri, Kiambu county and who rely on locally assembled material to make a standard hospital issue bed have a month and half to deliver the beds following President Uhuru Kenyatta’s personal intervention.

The President dispatched the President’s Delivery Unit (PDU) to Githunguri to assess the beds and confirm the viability of the order after the innovation that has been trending in social media was brought to his attention.

‘I have been sent by His Excellency the President to congratulate the young innovators and to confirm the Government’s commitment to support local innovations and products by providing a market for our own under the Buy-Kenya-Build-Kenya policy,” PDU Secretary Adrew Wakahiu said.

Mr Wakahiu said the beds will be subjected to the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) protocols on their suitability for hospital use. The Government will also rope in the Numeric Machining Complex which is tasked with incubating engineering innovations to help the budding entrepreneurs with equipment and to hasten the production.

He said the Government was keen on promoting local innovators and manufacturers in line with the manufacturing pillar of the Big Four Agenda

The locally manufactured bed features standard hospital design including a reclining frame, height adjuster and a retractable serving extension. But the innovation that was inspired by the COVID 19 pandemic also features a portable gas cylinder and a drip stand. It is also to easy dismantle for ease of transportation.

The purchase of the beds will be a vital boost to public hospitals that are reeling under the strain of COVID-related admissions. Already, many public hospitals have run out of beds after the pandemic patients took up majority of those available.

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Besides hospital beds, the virus spread has, ironically, spurred a number of innovations and adaptations in the country including sanitizers, masks, ventilators and a contact-tracing app.   

Gathogo and Muhinja said the government assistance and the purchase order will boost their production capacity and promised to exclusively hire more youth to attend to the growing demand.

The entrepreneurs who previously tried their business luck with local production of sanitizers and masks said they were forced to go back to the drawing board after competitors flooded the market.

Already, they have sold one bed to a home-care client and employed seven people. Their bed retails at around Ksh.65,000 compared to the Ksh85,000 for the cheapest available import. 

This article was authored by the Presidential Delivery Unit (PDU).

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