Nairobi | 04 June 2020: Oil marketer Dalbit Kenya has offered a KSH21.3m grant to Amref Health Africa meant to support the Government of Kenya’s efforts to step-up Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) testing activities.
The partnership between Dalbit Kenya and Amref follows a call by the Ministry of Health for additional capacity in Coronavirus screening, and will see Amref Central Laboratory (ACL) conduct testing and analysis of samples, easing the existing facilities that are likely to be overwhelmed by growing demand, as the Government works to contain the Coronavirus pandemic in Kenya.
The first tranche of the grant, KSH10.65m (USD100,000) has been handed over today, while the next round of funds are expected in two months.
Commenting on the partnership, Timothy Skudi, CEO of Dalbit Kenya said: “WHO has called for a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. As patriotic citizens, we all have a key role to play in minimising this pandemic’s impact on Kenyans.’’ He adds that, ‘‘Collaboration is key to tackling this outbreak. I am a firm believer in the power of public-private partnerships, and I know that now, more than ever, purpose, unity and innovation between companies, civil society and government is crucial. Dalbit Kenya is playing its part through this partnership.’’
The Amref Central Laboratory, through funding from Dalbit Kenya has been approved by the Ministry of Health to support its efforts of flattening the COVID-19 curve, and will provide additional testing facilities to help identify and isolate those infected and stop local transmission, which is crucial to reducing infection rates. The Laboratory joins National Influenza Centre at the National Public Health Laboratory (NPHL), Aga Khan University Hospital and three KEMRI laboratory facilities that are have been equipped to conduct Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) methods to test for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Dr Githinji Gitahi, Group CEO, Amref Health Africa noted, ‘‘Amref has built laboratory diagnostic capacity for many years working with WHO and other partners in developing human resources capability and technical skills required for infectious diseases. With the COVID19 pandemic and the resounding call globally to increase testing capacity to allow tracing and isolation in containing the speed of transmission, Amref has responded by increasing its capacity to support the analysis of samples from suspected case§s of COVID 19. Our focus on strengthening Kenya’s testing capacity will play a key role in flattening the curve and is critical to the Ministry’s strategy to contain Coronavirus.’’
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Amref Health Africa has been at the forefront of supporting government-led efforts and providing technical support and has over the recent past forged various partnerships aimed at mitigating the spread of Coronavirus in the country.
Dalbit Kenya, an oil marketing company (OMC) is dedicated to fuelling regional growth through reliable and safe distribution networks and has a track record of finding local solutions to regional challenges. Dalbit Kenya is making a 4-month contribution - through the grant - to Amref to not only increase its testing capabilities, but also to and upscale its technical skills to assist in pandemic relief efforts in Kenya.
In her comments, Dalbit Kenya Chief Supply Officer, Esther Ngero said: “Supporting the communities where we operate in is at the core of Dalbit’s values as a business. Now is not the time to abandon this tradition. The business community has a unique ability - and responsibility - to assist in this crisis. We are determined to do everything we can to provide funds, extra capacity or infrastructure to health institutions and medical professionals in the battle against COVID-19.’’
Ms Ngero further stated: “By partnering with Africa’s leading international health and development organisation, we can play our role in helping to contain the infection rate across Kenya. This represents part of Dalbit’s efforts. We are working with partners on the ground across East and Southern Africa to support their brave efforts, ensuring that we, in the private sector, do our part.”
This announcement shows the huge potential of public and private sector partnership, bolstering the efforts of civil society and healthcare institutions. The grant represents a spirit that Amref and Dalbit Kenya hope will continue with, as public and private organisations rally together in the fight against Coronavirus in Kenya and across the globe.
To minimise spread of Coronavirus, the Government of Kenya has put in place a raft of measures including the activation of a COVID-19 response mechanism led by a National Taskforce; isolation of suspects and immediate testing; international travel bans and mandatory quarantine of international passengers on arrival; cessation of movement in identified hotspots; call for adoption of prevention actions such as physical distancing, regular handwashing with soap and use of sanitisers. Others are disinfection of affected premises; expanded surveillance and laboratory testing capacity and provision of personal protective equipment for health workers.
About Dalbit Kenya
Dalbit Kenya is an oil marketing company dedicated to fuelling regional growth through reliable and safe distribution networks. The company has a long philanthropic history. We believe that our investment in people and communities serves as a catalyst in unlocking the great potential of Kenya. Our key community focus areas include education, health, community development and the conservation of wildlife and the environment. Dalbit Kenya is a member of the Janus Continental Group, a conglomerate comprising of market-leading companies in the petroleum, energy, hospitality and real estate sectors.
About Amref Health Africa
Amref Health Africa, headquartered in Kenya, is the largest Africa based International Non-Governmental Organisation (INGO) currently running programs in over 35 countries in Africa with lessons learnt over 60 years of engagement with governments, communities and partners to increase sustainable health access in Africa. Amref Health Africa also incorporates programme development, fundraising, partnership, advocacy, monitoring and evaluation, and has offices in Europe and North America as well as subsidiaries: Amref Flying Doctors, Amref Enterprises and the Amref International University.