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Mombasa ferry users get sanitiser spray booths

Wednesday April 08 2020
By ALLAN OLINGO
By DIANA MUTHEU

It sprays twelve people at time, disinfecting the whole body as you pass through to board the ferry.

Thousands of commuters using the Likoni crossing channel in Mombasa County will have to be disinfected first before boarding the the ferries, once the one-week pilot phase for the sprayers lapses and larger machine are installed.

Ferry users, who until now have had to wash their hands at tens of taps installed by the County in partnership with several private organisations, will have to pass through the spray sanitiser booth that has been constructed at the ferry channel to curb the spread of coronavirus.

“This is better than the taps. Most people were not keen to wash their hands saying they were in a hurry. I think this is the best solution for us, and the reagent dries quickly too,” Ms Farida Mwanaisha, a Likoni resident said after passing through the booth.

The use of spray sanitisers comes after the county government partnered with Suleiman Shabhal, a former Mombasa gubernatorial contestant, Kenya Red Cross, Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) and Technical University of Mombasa (TUM) to step up the war against Covid-19.

Two weeks ago, Mombasa started constructing boreholes at the Likoni crossing channel to ensure sufficient water supply to enhance hygiene of thousands of ferry users.

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“I saw a video of the sprayers online and when I made inquiries from my contacts in Turkey. I was informed that I couldn’t get them due to high demand. I consulted locally and realised we can make their prototypes,” Mr Shahbal, the brainchild behind the sprayers, told the Nation.

“We looked at the efficiency of the taps and noticed ferry users were not keen on them, and for those who were, they weren’t perfoming the handwashing as per the guidelines. Upon discussions with several stakeholders including the county, we offered to pilot this and see its uptake.”

The two spraying booths, the Nation understands, are prototypes that will be piloted for a week as the county monitors their efficiency.

Bigger ones are under construction and are expected to be installed at ferry boarding points in the next two weeks.

“The two prototypes cost us Sh900,000 to have them made and installed. They only took four days to be fabricated. We know the bigger ones will cost more but we shall work with the Mombasa business community to have them finished on time and installed at the ferry. This is the least we can do for the community to fight this pandemic,” Mr Shahbal said.

The two prototypes have been installed on both the Mombasa island and Likoni mainland sides of the ferry.

“We hope to have the bigger ones with a capacity to spray a minimum of 500 people in minutes. This is to ensure that we do not create unnecessary queues,” he said.

“The residents should be assured that the chemicals used as a disinfectant are safe and meet the quality standards required by the World Health Organization (WHO). The disinfectant is anti-microbial and it will help to control the spread of the coronavirus,” Dr Josiah Odalo, a Chemistry Professor at the Technical University of Mombasa.

Mombasa Governor, Hassan Joho also assured residents that the chemicals are human friendly and have been tested by county public health officials.

Once the pilot project succeeds, Mr Joho said, it will be a requirement that every person using the ferry be disinfected.

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