Why Has Kenya Stopped The Importation Of PPEs From China?

Credit: Quartz Africa https://qz.com/africa/1805769/coronavirus-chinese-middlemen-deplete-africa-facemasks-supply/

Kenya’s Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe has announced that Kenya will no longer import PPEs from China. The cabinet secretary made this announcement during one of the daily updates on the COVID-19 situation in Kenya. 

“Regarding the issue of masks that was supposedly raised by KEBS. I did take myself to KEBS (Kenya Bureau of Standards), I took some Chinese PPEs and they failed the test. So forthwith we have not imported any Chinese products because Kenyan products are good enough if not better that those from elsewhere,” the secretary said. The secretary further confirmed that medical masks issued to Doctors in Kenya go through quality tests at the Kenya Bureau of Standards after which doctors from the Ministry of Health further ensure the PPEs are risk-free.

On July 18, Kenya recorded the highest number ever of COVID-19 positive cases at 688, from a sample size of 4,522 tested in the 24 hours. 

According to the Nation, Kenya’s health cabinet, Mr. Kagwe, in an attempt to settle a turf between local PPE manufacturers and importers, decided to test Chinese PPEs at the Kenya Bureau of Standards.“The secretary secretly removed labels from personal protective equipment (PPEs) imported from China and privately sent them to official government labs at KEBS for testing. The results shocked him after the masks miserably failed the liquid penetration test. He also sent from the same batch, the same PPEs, but this time with labels. They passed with flying colours,” the Nation reported. 

Earlier in March this year, health authorities in Spain, Turkey, and the Netherlands reported that PPEs from China were below standard or defective. 

Will Kenya’s negative or low rating of Chinese PPEs have a major effect on China’s ‘COVID-19 diplomacy’ in Africa?

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