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Kisii University kicks off mass production of masks

Wednesday April 22 2020

face masks

Boda-boda operators in Chuka town, Tharaka-Nithi County, use face masks to shield themselves from coronavirus. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

RUTH MBULA
By RUTH MBULA
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Kisii University has rolled out mass distribution of face masks to South Nyanza residents and health facilities as part of the efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19.

The university is targeting Kisii, Homa Bay, Nyamira and Migori counties in the exercise.

Varsity officials on Tuesday distributed the masks for free to boda boda riders in Kisii.

Dr Jackline Nyaanga said the university is currently producing 1,000 face masks and 500 surgical masks daily.

For the last week alone, more than 100,000 masks have been made. The varsity, however, wants to increase production to 200,000 per week and 30,000 per day.

“The surgical masks will be distributed to health facilities in the Sub-counties to support medics with Personal Protective Equipment,” said Dr Nyaanga.

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She said they are seeking partnerships with well-wishers to help sustain the programme since the materials used for production are expensive.

Kisii Central Deputy County Commissioner Leonard Moguche called on boda boda riders to lead from the front in the war against Covid-19.

“We recognise the great work you do and that is why we are ensuring your protection and calling on you to be disciplined,” said Mr Moguche.

Kisii University Vice Chancellor Prof John Akama said they will be given out free to vulnerable groups among them mama mbogas, boda boda operators and the elderly.

“We are hoping that this gesture will significantly aid in warding off the infections which have begun to climb in counties too,” said Prof Akama.

“The elderly lack purchasing power owing to a slump in the economy and lack of proper support...we must be ready to help them in moments like this,” he said.

At the same time, Kisii National Polytechnic is partnering with the county government to produce face masks which will be distributed to Kisii residents.

The polytechnic’s leadership on Wednesday handed at least 5,000 face masks to Governor James Ongwae as it rolled out its production.

However, the university will have to wait for approval from the Kenya Bureau of Standards before producing more.