President Kenyatta orders purchase of 500 hospital beds from local innovators

President Kenyatta orders purchase of 500 hospital beds from local innovators
Two innovators who designed hospital beds from local material host government officials at their workshop in Kiambu on July 15, 2020. PHOTO | COURTESY

Two young innovators behind locally manufactured hospital beds have a reason to smile after the National Government ordered 500 of their beds to boost capacity in public hospitals currently under pressure from COVID-19 related admissions.

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 personal intervention.

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) protocols on their suitability for hospital use, adding that the government will also rope in the Numeric Machining Complex to help the budding entrepreneurs 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.

The PDU boss said the purchase of the beds will be a vital boost to public hospitals currently reeling under the strain of COVID-19 admissions. Already, many public hospitals have run out of beds after the pandemic patients took up majority of those available.

The duo said the government assistance and the purchase order will boost their production capacity and promised to exclusively hire more youth to attend to the growing demand.

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 Ksh.65,000 compared to the Ksh85,000 for the cheapest available import.

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