Inside the factory that supplies half of Africa’s syringes

Associated media – Connected media

Revital is also the centerpiece of a larger effort launched by Kenya’s president, William Ruto, to produce health kits for epidemics. In a malaria epidemic, for example, other companies might produce rapid diagnostic tests, mosquito nets, malaria drugs and vaccines; Revital would assemble the kits and ship them to areas affected by the epidemic.

The company was founded in 2008 with just 60 employees and remains family-owned. Mr. Vora is a third generation Kenyan of Indian origin. His uncle is the president of the company. His cousins ​​handle finance and operations. And Krupali Shah, who leads research and development, is a close family friend. Women make up approximately 80% of the workforce, exceeding the 50% goal set by the Gates Foundation.

Just minutes from Kilifi’s spectacular beaches, the factory is open all day, every day, with 12-hour shifts. Much of the work is automated, but many workers spend hours in hot rooms with little air, because air-conditioning units or fans could compromise sterility, Ms. Shah said. Some machines emit high-pitched screams every few seconds. According to a floor supervisor, workers were offered headphones and refused them.

Mr. Vora’s great-grandmother was mute and deaf, and she said the company was planning to hire more than 200 women to assemble the syringes. So far the company has hired about 40. On one hot December day there were fewer than 20.

Connected media – Connected media