Third Eye

Punish makers of sub-standard PPEs

Monday, November 30th, 2020 00:00 |
A resident in Nairobi takes Covid-19 test. Photo/PD/FILE

Revelations that Kenya risks running out of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), after the country’s regulator rejected some of the surgical masks being used on grounds that they were substandard, should concern us all.

Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) said that samples of various masks being produced by local manufacturers were of such poor quality that some had registered 100 per cent failure, forcing the agency to order the concerned companies to stop further production.

According to Kebs, the surveillance they had carried out revealed that all brands of surgical masks sampled, did not comply with quality requirements.

The net effect of this is that the country is staring at a crisis in the middle of a pandemic.

More so because the agency had also rejected thousands of substandard PPEs shipped into the country from China and the Netherlands.

This is an indication that authorities had lowered their guard and allowed dumping of poor quality goods into the local market.

There are no signs that we will be out of the woods soon owing to the increasing cases of coronavirus.

That is why we are not only concerned by the possible PPE shortage but also the dangers they are exposing patients and medics to as the country fights the pandemic. 

Being frontline soldiers in the fight against the virus, medics are exposed to the disease on a daily basis.

The mere thought that they could be using sub-standard equipment as they go about saving lives is sad indeed. 

It is equally unimaginable that Kenyans are living in a fool’s paradise thinking they are protected from the virus only for the equipment to fail them.

Quality of any material coming out of our factories must never be compromised.

But standards of medical equipment should be subjected to higher scrutiny because of the direct implications on lives. 

Indeed, it’s not enough to ban the faulty equipment; whoever dropped the ball and allowed sale of flimsy material should be held accountable.

It’s possible that such recklessness could be contributing to the spike in Covid-19 infections. 

This means that Kebs must pull up its socks and enforce quality checks and do so before the products hit the market.

Sellers of the compromised equipment are merchants of death who should be identified and stern action taken against them. 

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