President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday ordered the purchasing of 500 beds from local innovators to boost capacity in public hospitals currently under stress due to the huge number of admission of COVID-19 patients versus limited resources.
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 a half to deliver the beds following President Uhuru Kenyatta’s directive.
The Head of State on Wednesday 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,” said PDU Secretary Andrew Wakahiu.
Mr. Wakahiu said the beds will be subjected to the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) inspections to gauge their suitability for hospital use, adding that the government will also rope in the Numeric Machining Complex to help the innovators with equipment and to hasten the production.
The locally manufactured bed features standard hospital design including a reclining frame, height adjuster and a retractable serving extension, and also features a portable gas cylinder, a drip stand, and is easy dismantle for ease of transportation.
Wakahiu expressed optimism that the government assistance and the purchase order will boost the production capacity at the two innovators’ operating base.
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 Ksh65,000 compared to the Ksh85,000 for the cheapest available import.