How a Nairobi-based startup inspires infection prevention

Infection prevention is the phrase that is on everyone’s mind today. How do we do it? How do we ensure we are doing it well? What are the best protocols? Well, interestingly, a local firm has used the pandemic period to work out the best practices for exactly that.

Over the last year, companies across Kenyan industries have implemented their internal infection prevention protocols, from surface disinfection and temperature monitoring at entrances, to barring entrance from visitors not wearing facemasks to refusing to wash their hands.

(TOP: Glena Jiwani, Head of Sales at Infrared Limited).

Government directives have been very clear on masks, hygiene and distancing. However, clarity on more finite operations such as surface disinfection protocols and the correct temperature monitoring equipment have been left to the discretion of companies, and they are confused. What is the best technology and solutions available in the market for these infection prevention protocols?

During an interview with this blog, Infrared Kenya, a Nairobi-based startup, highlighted the importance of using well-established protocols that have been used globally to combat infection particularly in public spaces.

“Our best defense is offence…,” stated Glena Jiwani, Head of Sales at Infrared Limited. “We must wear masks, distance and continually wash our hands, but additionally, companies, particularly ones with high traffic should definitely implement more effective and efficient high-touch surface disinfection protocols as well as more accurate temperature monitoring systems.”

“Currently, although companies are providing training on disinfection protocols with their internal cleaning crews, the methods being used are manual, inefficient and leave high chances for cross contamination.” She stated. “We must remember, that cleaning is not disinfection, cleaning can be done once or twice a day, however, disinfecting needs to be done consistently throughout the day, in fact every time visitors enter or leave a location. It is impossible to expect that the current system of manually disinfecting surfaces would work particularly in high traffic spaces.”

This understanding motivated her firm to look for globally excepted solutions to leapfrog these challenges.

The firm currently specializes in two main solutions; Surface Disinfection and Temperature Monitoring both designed for the professional environment.

“For surface disinfection, we have partnered with the globally recognized US-based firm called Victory Innovations. They are the leading manufacturers in professional cordless electrostatic sprayers and their patented technology is cutting edge when it comes to disinfectant dispersal,” says Mrs. Jiwani.

When you turn on our electrostatic disinfection sprayers, the liquid is given a positive charge, this essentially means two things. First, the particles will be attracted to all types of negative or neutral surfaces, and second, positively charged particles will repel each other, ensuring an even spread that is environmentally friendly with little or no wastage. The biggest advantages of these spray units are that they are completely cordless, making them easy to move around large spaces and additionally with the electrostatic spray technology there is no need wipe down a surface after disinfection, which is where cross-contamination would most likely occur.

“For our temperature monitoring, instead of IR technology we use thermal which is more accurate simply because it takes measurements across an entire surface and not a pinpoint like IR. Thermal cameras can take the temperature from over 1-4 metre distance depending on the model. They are discreet and fit to the current social distancing protocols required,” she expounds.

With clients across all the industries using both products, from professional offices, airlines, hotels and lodges, restaurants to manufacturing, large retail and agribusiness, the firm believes there is a need-gap for efficient and sustainable tech solutions to address existing and possible future public health hurdles.

“Our clients have been more than happy to work with us, they appreciate the solutions we offer and understand the benefits of using these systems. Additionally, we provide warranty on all our products and offer only the best after sales service and maintenance.”

She challenges the public to be cautious about the health shortfalls in most public areas, especially those that allow crowding.

“As Benjamin Franklin once eloquently stated…  “An once of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Companies can help prevent infection prevention by following simple protocols that can safeguard their customers, but their teams, and themselves.”


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