Ministry: HIV/Aids patients less likely to die of coronavirus

Friday, July 3rd, 2020 00:00 |
Health Chief Administrative Secretary Rashid Aman. Photo/PD/John Ochieng

Irene Githinji @Pegitshee

People living with HIV/Aids are at a lower risk of dying of coronavirus-related complications compared to other pre-existing health conditions, the Ministry of Health disclosed yesterday. 

Acting Director General for Health Patrick Amoth attributed the trend to the fact that most patients are on Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) and fully adhere to their treatment, hence achieving viral suppression.

“Their immune system is as good as those not HIV infected. We would like to also appeal to those with other pre-existing condition like hypertension and diabetes to do the same,” said Dr Amoth during the daily updates on the status of Coronavirus in the country.

Amoth urged patients with other pre-existing chronic conditions to understand that adherence alone to prescribed medicines could make their exposure reduced and so will their risk of death owing to Covid-19. 

His dosclosure came as 268 more people tested positive for coronavirus, the cases now inching closer to the 7,000 mark.

Underlying conditions

Health Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Dr Rashid Aman, in his address said the total number of confirmed cases had risen to 6,941.

Out of the 268 new cases, 259 were Kenyans and nine foreigners.  Nairobi had the highest number of cases at 175, followed by Mombasa with 28; Busia had 18, Kiambu 11, while Kajiado and Migori had nine cases each.

Another 20 patients were discharged, bringing the total number of recoveries to 2,109 while three more passed on, further pushing the number of casualties to 152. 

“Coronavirus pandemic has exposed vulnerability of people living with Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD). Consequently, the ministry in collaboration with counties has put up measures that NCD clinics remain operational during this period,” said Aman.

The ministry has also urged persons living with diabetes and hypertension to consume healthy diets based on locally available foods.

Amoth further added that predominantly those dying of coronavirus have two or more conditions, majority being those with diabetes and hypertension.

“Diabetes and hypertension is the highest risk factor for Coronavirus mortality, followed by diabetes then hypertension and other conditions including cancer,” said Amoth.

He added: “We would like to emphasise that those with other health conditions should continue visiting health facilities and fulfill their prescriptions for assessment so we can ensure their control is good.”

It is estimated that 1.13 billion people live with hypertension condition worldwide representing 31 per cent of adult population. 

In Kenya, about 6.1 million adult live with hypertension, representing 24 per cent of adult population.

Data from Kenya Health Information System for January to March, garnered from 21 reporting counties indicate that 67,465 hypertensive patients were seen and reported.

As far as predicting coronavirus numbers,   Amoth explained the government is currently using characteristics of the patient like whether they are asymptomatic, how many people they can pass to in case infected and how one applied containment measures put in place including use of masks and hand washing.

“Going forward, it means things are falling into place as we projected. Sometimes back we had projected that by late June and July we would see more than 200 cases reported daily.  I think that is what we are witnessing today,” said Amoth.

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