Equity Group Foundation (EGF), with support from the Mastercard Foundation, today announced a commitment of Ksh 1.1 billion to provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to frontline medical staff dealing with COVID-19 patients in public hospitals in Kenya.
The commitment has been provided by Equity Bank (Ksh 300million) and the Mastercard Foundation (Ksh 500million) – a long-time trusted partner of EGF who are providing support as part of their Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program. The funding also includes a donation of Ksh 300million from the family of Dr. James Mwangi, the Founding Chairman of EGF and Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Equity Group Holdings Plc.
EGF will work in partnership with the Ministry of Health and the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund in this endeavour. This will ensure a coordinated effort on the national priorities of combating the pandemic, reap the benefits of economies of scale, maximise resource allocation and avoid duplication of efforts in the provision of PPEs.
Speaking while announcing the initiative, Dr. Mwangi said, “It started when my attention was drawn to a group of students and doctors who were raising funds for PPE’s for young post graduate students especially in Kenyatta National and Referral Hospital (KNH).” He added, “When I shared the need with my family, a robust discussion revealed the urgency to holistically address the issue as it was not prudent to provide the PPE’s to students without also focusing on the plight of the doctors, nurses, clinical officers, and medical staff.” Dr. Mwangi is a member of Kenya’s COVID-19 Emergency Fund Board.
“We invited the CEO of the Kenya Medical Association and a group of doctors from KNH and University of Nairobi where we established the need for PPE’s for medical staff handling COVID-19 patients in the country. A team of seven was formed to help structure this initiative,” Dr. Mwangi said. He expressed gratitude to the following medical professionals who subsequently formed a steering committee to organize the immense task of coordinating and actualizing this initiative:
- Isaac Macharia ENT, Specialist Chairman
- Louis Litswa Specialist Anesthetist and Critical Care Specialist Member
- Elizabeth Gitau Kenya Medical Association Member
- Chibanzi Mwachonda Secretary General, Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU) Member
- David Kariuki Senior Deputy Director General, Ministry of Health Member
- Alfred Obengo Secretary General-National Nurses Association of Kenya Member
- Joanne Korir Quality Assurance–Equity Afia Secretary
The committee will coordinate the implementation of the initiative to ensure availability of PPE’s across the country and will help to scale up a mental wellness support system for medical staff initiated by the Kenya Medical Association (KMA).
Equity Bank (Kenya) Ltd. Chairman Professor Isaac Macharia said, “The Board of Equity recognizes the vital role of health care workers on the frontline and is proud to partner with universities and public hospitals in ensuring the safety of our health care workers.”
Dr. Mwangi has thanked the Board of Equity Group Holdings, Equity Bank (Kenya) Limited, and the Board of Equity Group Foundation for their contribution and support of the investment.
President and CEO of the Mastercard Foundation Reeta Roy said, “Health care workers are at the frontlines of caring for all of us, safeguarding community health. We must keep them safe. We are grateful that this partnership meets the immediate needs precipitated by COVID-19, which the Foundation is prioritizing through our Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program.”
Expressing appreciation to the Mastercard Foundation for their many years of true partnership and trust, Dr. Mwangi said that their generous contribution has made it possible to scale up the investment to the national level to provide PPE’s to medical staff attending and caring for COVID-19 patients.
“As we execute this initiative, my trust and gratitude go to our medical staff who risk everything to serve on oath of their profession,” said Dr. Mwangi. He added, “To my fellow Kenyans, we can only overcome this global pandemic as a nation, only in partnership with our Government, and by committing to our social contract where the Government and the Ministry of Health design the best medical policies and protocols, and we as citizens adhere to them faithfully. As a people, let us set the bar of compliance high and hold each other to account.”
Dr. Mwangi appealed to Kenyans to observe the following recommendations from the Ministry of Health on social distancing, washing hands and sanitizing regularly, limitation of movement, self-quarantining when in doubt, and wearing face masks when in public. “By observing these recommendations, we shall collectively as a community and society become the first line of defense to avoid paying the price of an exponential community spread of the pandemic. We owe ourselves a duty of ensuring that we don’t add to the growing list of infected or contacts. Let us leave our medical staff and our health infrastructure to be our second line of defense for those who unfortunately become infected,” Dr. Mwangi said.
Dr Mwangi concluded by saying, “We recognize that none of us can be safe as long as one of us is unsafe. We will endeavor to continue with our engagement and mobilization of our partners to extend our partnership towards procurement of diagnostic kits. We believe that there is a chance for every Kenyan to get the support they require to overcome the COVID-19 infection.”
He expressed the commitment of EGF to continue championing the social work of Equity Group Holdings alongside its partners. During this difficult time, our Equity Afia doctors, who are alumni of the Equity Leaders Program, are running a growing network of Equity Afia medical centres in the country and are working tirelessly to make their contributions towards the fight against COVID-19. In addition, all Equity Afia locations will remain open throughout Kenya to attend to other ailments and thereby relieve public hospitals to prepare and respond to any COVID-19 cases that may arise in their regions.