AMREF Health Africa in Kenya has began the manufacturing of personal protective equipment (PPE) in Kenya to fight COVID-19 at its Dagoretti Fashion and Design Centre in Nairobi.

This new initiative has been made possible with support from The Coca-Cola Foundation and Coca-Cola Beverages Africa Kenya (CCBA Kenya).

This new initiative will involve young women and girls from informal settlements around Nairobi who will produce masks and surgical gowns. They will then be affordably sold to local communities and hospitals across the country to help in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

“We expect to sell the masks at subsidized prices of up to 50% discount within Dagoretti, working with community health workers as the primary distribution channel. We will also make use of Amref programmes across the country to distribute the masks in their areas of implementation,” said Dr Meshack Ndirangu, Amref Health Africa in Kenya’s Country Director.

“The support from the Coca-Cola Foundation is assisting to meet the country’s urgent need for quality-assured PPE for use by the community and health workers. It is also creating an opportunity for young women to gain skills that are enabling them to earn a living at a time when many businesses have been disrupted. We look forward to seeing them make use of these new competencies to start their own enterprises,” said Xavier Selga, Managing Director, Coca-Cola Beverages Africa Kenya.

The Coca-Cola Foundation will provide Amref Health Africa with a total of Ksh. 17.5 million to support several health initiatives in the fight against the spread of Coronavirus in the country. In addition to the production of PPEs, Amref Health Africa will use the funds to provide access to enhanced hand hygiene and sanitation to communities in need across the country.

Other activities under this initiative include building the capacity of the Ministry of Health staff to undertake disinfection and decontamination of public premises, and providing basic diagnostic. It also includes providing screening equipment and supporting women and youth groups to make personal hygiene products such as soap.

The support is part of Coca-Cola’s global efforts to help control the spread of COVID-19 with Kenya being among the 13 African countries in East and Central Africa receiving support.