Ministry defends coronavirus test regime, terms it credible

Thursday, July 2nd, 2020 00:00 |
Health Chief Administrative Secretary Rashid Aman. Photo/PD/John Ochieng

The Ministry of Health (MoH) yesterday  defended the coronavirus testing regime used by the government, terming it reliable and credible even as questions over conflicting results emerged. 

Health CAS Rashid Aman said all the 28 testing labs approved to test Covid-19 follow strict laid-down procedures adding the government has its own monitoring tools. 

Yesterday, the country reported 307 new positive cases—the highest so far—pushing the number of confirmed cases in the country to 6,673 from 173,355 people tested so far. 

However, Aman said the ministry was aware of cases where some private labs have issued varying results.

He said that the matter is being investigated adding that appropriate action would be taken in case there was negligence. 

“Tests can fail because of many factors such as transportation of samples and duration; the longer you keep a sample its viability goes down,” he said, “The samples are transported cold, in ice but there are also system errors.”

“The reagents also have to stored in the right conditions... But we’re addressing these that have come to our attention and if we realize that there was a case of negligence then we will take necessary steps,” said Aman.  

He said that samples can stay for as long as three weeks before they go bad so long as they are stored in the right conditions. 

During the ministry’s daily briefing on the coronavirus situation, Aman sent a passionate appeal to Kenyans to continue observing the containment measures describing the fight against the disease as a personal responsibility. 

“I want to make a special appeal to each one of us to take a personal responsibility in the fight against this disease,” he said.

He warned that the country was approaching its and therefore infections could increase exponentially. 

“We are in very bad position as far as this disease is concerned... The numbers are rising and are likely to increase even more in the coming weeks so we all must go an extra mile to protect ourselves and others,” he stated. 

Aman, who was accompanied by the acting Director General of Health Dr Patrick Amoth, described contact tracing as a very intense and laborious undertaking since the virus had already was already spreading within communities. 

“Covid-19 is a resource intense, it is a very daunting exercise,” he said.  

He said that a decision had not been made on reopening of the economy and easing of containment measures noting the government has to strike a delicate balance to avoid reversing the gains made so far. 

Even with the prevailing situation of Covid-19 infection in the country, majority of Kenyans have been discussing the possibility of government opening the economy, said Aman. 

“The discussion is unavoidable. The containment measures have resulted in discomfort and pain to our people.

These are weighty issues that must dominate our discussions to aid the government in coming up with a balanced decision on the way forward,” he said.

The economy has been hit hard with many Kenyans losing their means of livelihoods.

The circumstances we find ourselves in as a country are certainly unusual because we are not dealing with a normal enemy, he explained. 

At the same time, Amoth told Kenyans to accept the dire situation posed by coronavirus noting that this is key in combating mental health issues currently being experienced.

 Amoth said accepting one’s situation is important in keeping mental illness at bay even as he revealed that there 600 patients had been put under home-based care programme with 120 of them having been discharged after recovering from the disease.  

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