Shelter Afrique Donates Ksh1 million to KEMRI to boost COVID-19 testing

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Shelter Afrique Chief Executive Officer Andrew Chimphondah (left) signs a Ksh 1,000,000 (USD10, 000) cheque as donation to the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) as the institution’s Director General Prof. Yeri Kombe (right) and KEMRI Board Chairman Dr. Naphtali Agata look on.

Pan African Housing Financier, Shelter Afrique, through its foundation, the Shelter Afrique Foundation has donated Ksh 1,000,000 (USD10, 000)to the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) towards the purchase of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing kits to boost the government’s mass testing efforts.   

Shelter Afrique Chief Executive Officer Andrew Chimphondah handed over the donation to KEMRI’s Director General Prof. Yeri Kombe and KEMRI Board Chairman Dr. Naphtali Agata.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting humanity like no other crisis in recent human history. With the uncertainty that looms over us, we at Shelter Afrique, as a responsible corporate citizen, would like to extend our support to the government of Kenya, in its fantastic efforts in combating this deadly virus. Testing is the first step in dealing with this pandemic and we hope that our humble contribution will go a long way in boosting the supply of the much needed testing kits,” Mr. Chimphondah said.

Prof. Yeri Kombe Kombe thanked Shelter Afrique for the donation, saying the additional testing kits will boost the KEMRI’s testing capacity and ensure the government effectively identifes the infected population and isolate them at the earliest opportunity.

“We are grateful to Shelter Afrique for kind gesture and for stepping in at this critical time and provide support to procure these testing kits. This will increase our testing capacity which will be critical in accelerating the process and interventions to augment the Government’s efforts to flatten the curve,” he said.

Currently, an average of only about 700 samples are tested per day against a daily capacity of 30,000. This, Prof. Kombe attributed to the shortage of reagents and consumables, equipment, and the capacity of health workers to collect such a large number of samples every day.

“This donation from Shelter Afrique has come at a time when KEMRI is actively involved in the development of various diagnostics, vaccine and molecular techniques that are geared towards the fight against Covid-19 in the country. This generous contribution will enable us make approxitely 1,250 kits which is great boost to our effort,” Prof. Kombe said.

Among the various products that KEMRI is developing against Covid-19 include; The Whole Genome Sequencing, virus transport media, Rapid Test kits, drug development and production of alcohol based hand sanitizers.

“For us this is a double blessing! When we have just been nominated by the Africa CDC as a Centre of Excellence for Evaluation of Covid-19 diagnostic to establish a continental capacity to facilitate systematic appraisal of SARS-2 diagnostic-tests. This will also ensure timely and accurate testing which is critical for effective response, for Several SARS-2 diagnostic tests,” said KEMRI Dr. Agata.

The engagement with KEMRI comes in a wake where the Shelter Afrique Foundation has provided relief materials to over 4000 beneficiaries across Africa; the relief package includes dry goods, detergents, and other staple foodstuffs.