Equity Group Foundation (EGF) and the Mastercard Foundation, today announced a commitment of Ksh 1.1 billion to provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to frontline medical staff dealing with COVID-19 patients in public hospitals in Kenya.

These funds include KES 300 million from Equity Bank, KES 500 million from the Mastercard Foundation and a matching donation of KES 300 million from the family of Dr. James Mwangi, the founding Chairman of EGF and the MD and CEO of Equity Group Holdings Plc. Mastercard Foundation’s funds are part of their COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program which supports health workers, first-responders and students, helping ward off the short-term effects of this global pandemic.

The two foundations will work in partnership with Kenya’s Ministry of Health and the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund in this endeavour, to ensure a coordinated effort on the national priorities of combating the pandemic, reap the benefits of economies of scale, maximise resource allocation and avoid duplication of efforts in the provision of PPEs.

Speaking while announcing the initiative, Dr. Mwangi, who is a member of Kenya’s COVID-19 Emergency Fund Board, said, “It started when my attention was drawn to a group of students and doctors who were raising funds for PPE’s for young post graduate students especially (at the) Kenyatta National and Referral Hospital (KNH).” He added, “When I shared the need with my family, a robust discussion revealed the urgency to holistically address the issue as it was not prudent to provide the PPE’s to students without also focusing on the plight of the doctors, nurses, clinical officers, and medical staff.”

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“We invited the CEO of the Kenya Medical Association and a group of doctors from KNH and University of Nairobi where we established the need for PPE’s for medical staff handling COVID-19 patients in the country. A team of seven was formed to help structure this initiative,” Dr. Mwangi said. The committee, which includes Dr. Chibanzi Mwachonda, Secretary General of the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU) and Mr. Alfred Obengo, Secretary General of the National Nurses Association of Kenya, will coordinate the implementation of the initiative to ensure availability of PPE’s across the country and will help to scale up a mental wellness support system for medical staff initiated by the Kenya Medical Association (KMA).

Equity Bank (Kenya) Ltd. Chairman Professor Isaac Macharia said, “The Board of Equity recognizes the vital role of health care workers on the frontline and is proud to partner with universities and public hospitals in ensuring the safety of our health care workers.”

President and CEO of the Mastercard Foundation Reeta Roy said, “Health care workers are at the frontlines of caring for all of us, safeguarding community health. We must keep them safe. We are grateful that this partnership meets the immediate needs precipitated by COVID-19, which the Foundation is prioritizing through our Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program.”