By Kenya Confidential Business Desk, Nairobi – March 25, 2021
The Kenya Private Sector Agency (KEPSA) has called on government to impose stringent measures to combat the alarming Coronavirus spread in the country. KEPSA calls on the government to impose countrywide curfew to start at 8pm till 4am for the next 3 weeks. Companies operating night shifts to be given exception.
The alliance further calls on the government to restrict all inter-county travel for the 5 most affected counties – Nairobi, Mombasa, Kiambu, Nakuru & Kajiado – for the next 2 weeks except for essential services
The KEPSA statement said it had noted with concern the spike in COVID infections these last few weeks. The positivity rate now stands at a worrying 16.5%.
The private sector is not exempt from the negative effects of the pandemic, and has continued to work closely with government in managing the effects of the pandemic, most crucially by being involved in the development of protocols and economic incentives to see Kenya through this crisis.
In this same spirit of cooperation with government, and due to the urgent need to reverse this worrying upward trajectory in new COVID cases, KEPSA is asking the government to institute additional stringent measures to be implemented over the next 2-3 weeks, after which they can be reviewed for impact. These measures are summarized in the matrix below. The private sector will play its full role in ensuring that such additional measures and any others that government puts in place, are implemented effectively, all the while taking into account the absolute priority of protecting livelihoods and ensuring our economy continues to deliver for all Kenyans.
The private sector also wishes to state categorically and without hesitation its support for the ongoing vaccination campaign. We must not only vaccinate our people; we must also intensify this campaign to ensure all Kenyans who want to be vaccinated are vaccinated by July 31 2021. The private sector is ready, willing and able to play its role in working with government to ensure we meet this target of 100% vaccination by July 31 2021.
Private sector recommendations to address the rise of Covid-19 for the next 2-3 weeks on slowing the new 3rd Covid-19 wave
|1. Vaccination and testing||Clear massive vaccine rollout plan which stipulates number of people to be vaccinated by when and a fallback to the next priority group should uptake in the previous one be low. Get price cap on PCR tests Blanket indemnity to be issued by government to enable private sector bring in more vaccines in the country. Encourage public, private and religious leaders to take Covid vaccine and create more awareness. This move will increase public confidence and increase vaccine uptake. (Private sector leaders above 50 years are ready to get vaccinated publicly in order to create more awareness on vaccination.) Private sector Human Resources for Health (HRH) involvement in vaccine uptake Private sector HRH involvement in the rapid response initiative of 3rd wave eradication|
|2. Curfew/ Lockdown||Restrict all inter county travel for the 5 most affected counties (Nairobi, Mombasa, Kiambu, Nakuru & Kajiado) for the next 2 weeks except for essential services. Countrywide curfew to start at 8pm till 4am for the next 3 weeks. Companies operating night shifts to be given exception|
Carole Kariuki Karuga CEO, KEPSA
c. Restaurants and night clubs to close earlier if curfew starts at 8pm for the next 3 weeks
|3. Slowing down community spread||Restrict all social gatherings including in homes for the next 3 weeks. The social gathering include ceremonies to mark Idd and Easter celebrations, weddings etc. Limit number of people attending funerals to below 15 for the next 3 weeks. Reduction in number of people attending physical meetings in offices etc. for the next 3 weeks. Policing our borders to minimize cross border spread for the next 3 weeks.|
|4. Compliance & enforcement of Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) protocols||KEPSA to revive the partnership with Inspector General (IG) on the call number 1196 for reporting on those not adhering to rules. Adopt technology e.g. use of private sector app to promote awareness of IPC protocols and general information sharing. Ensure adherence to protocols right from the top leaders. Enhance enforcement of Covid-19 protocols in all markets & trading centers, public transport including SGR night train, serviced apartments and AirBnB among others. Call for all private sector associations to self-regulate immediately. Introduce tough penalties for breach of measures immediately.|
|5. Health facilities capacity||Increase number of ventilators, field hospitals etc. to boost capacity of health facilities which is still the same as it was at the beginning. NHIF to expedite the accreditation & contracting, capitation, pre- authorization and claims turnaround processes. This will create capacity at primary health facilities to provide other medical services hence continuity of care as we manage Covid-19 cases in the designated treatment and isolation centres – Faith Based and Rural hospitals are most affected by the NHIF delays. Fast track settling of pending bills owed by NHIF to health facilities.|
|6. Sensitization campaigns||Rollout campaign on immune boosting measures e.g. through increased uptake of foods rich in Zinc, Vitamin C, Vitamin D etc. Conduct sensitization campaigns targeting youth through media channels they follow to promote behavior change. KEPSA to it rollout through Mkenya daima, creative sector led campaign etc. Develop guideline on home remedies & interventions within next 1 week. Every facility that is testing to attach the home care guide to results emails for all positive cases. I.e. Home care protocols and remedies.|
|7. Regulations||ICT Regulation: Fast track approval of digital health regulations. Covid-19 Commodities regulation: Streamline multiple regulators for Covid- 19 commodities causing challenges in access, affordability and availability. Importation of vaccines: All regulatory hurdles on importation of vaccines to be cleared.|