The very first case of Coronavirus was registered in Kenya in mid-March. Following the diagnosis, KEBS (Kenya Bureau of Standards) launched a series of initiatives to support local manufacturing of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs).
So far, KEBS has been at the forefront in the development of standards, testing of the PPEs and fast-tracking certification of PPEs.
Among many local companies that are supported by KEBS in the manufacture of PPEs include:
- Bedi Investment
- Eco Holding Ltd.
- Omega Apparels Ltd.
- Ritz Ltd.
- Bosky Industries Ltd.
- Rivatex Ltd.
- Machakos Technical Institute for the Blind
Supporting local manufacturers
In verbatim, KEBS has also been offering the services to PPE manufacturers:
- Providing guidelines to local manufacturers on the requirements for Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs).
- KEBS has regularly met with manufacturers in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME’s) to discuss the certification process and standards for the production of quality PPEs that assure the safety and protection of Kenyans in the fight against COVID-19.
- KEBS has certified a total of 105 companies to manufacture face masks and 61 local companies to manufacture other PPEs including protective clothing used by health workers. All the certified manufactures have been issued with a product standardization mark which bears a unique number that enables consumers to verify the product
- KEBS has offered the local manufacturers free online access to over sixteen (16) technical standards to support manufacturing of PPEs including instant hand sanitizers, surgical face masks, reusable cloth masks, single-use medical examination gloves, single-use sterile rubber surgical gloves, protective clothing used by health workers, health care aprons and overall clothing, anaesthetic and respiratory equipment (nebulizing systems and components), sanitization booths, and face shields among
- KEBShas facilitated entrepreneurs, technical and vocational education and training institutes, colleges as well as county governments to embark on mass production of PPEs across the country.
- KEBS has offered testing services of PPEs for local manufactures. All locally manufactured PPEs have been tested by KEBS before being certified and offered for sale to the
KEBS also performs import inspection and market surveillance activities to police and enforce compliance to standards for PPEs.
Reporting substandard products
Lastly, KEBS is alerting the public to be wary of substandard products. Specifically, the public can verify whether the S-Mark permit on a product is genuine by sending the code underneath the S-Mark to 20023 (SM#Code).
The ISM#UCR code can also be sent to the same number.
If the details are different, then Kenyans are advised to report the product to a KEBS toll-free number 1545 during official working hours of 8.00 AM to 1.00 PM and 2.00 PM to 5.00 PM, Monday to Friday.