Mombasa Covid-19 mass testing marked by low turnout

Thursday, May 7th, 2020 00:00 |
Empty seats at the Kaderbhouy health centre where mass testing was due to take place in Mombasa. Photo/PD/BONFACE MSANGI

The mass testing exercise in Mombasa continued to face hurdles as residents kept away despite the government assurance that it was safe.

The move came after it emerged yesterday that the number of those turning up for the testing was still below the target population even in Likoni sub-county where the exercise was moved to after hostility from residents of Old Town on Monday.

According to County Chief Public Health Officer Aisha Abubakar, only 284 people showed up for testing on Monday and Tuesday in Likoni out of a target of 300 people per day.

“We are progressing well. On Monday we tested about 84 people and Tuesday about 200 this means that people have now seen the need to avail themselves for the exercise. Our aim is to ensure we test as many people as possible,” said Abubakar.

She said only 197 people were tested, for the three days the mass testing was going on in Old Town out of a targeted 28,000 population.

Mvita Sub-county alone has about 50 positive cases and several deaths. The government has imposed cessation of movement in and out of Old Town, which commenced on Wednesday.

“We have decided to sensitise them so that they can see the need to be tested. We have noticed that people in that area still don’t believe there is coronavirus,” said Abubakar.

Likoni has recorded at least four cases compared to Old Town which now has about 64 positive cases out of the 194 recorded in Mombasa.

Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho has promised to address concerns raised by residents of Old Town especially regarding conditions in quarantine centres. “Do not be afraid of quarantine. Our facilities are friendly,” he said.

Nyali MP Mohammed Ali, Senator Mohammed Faki and Muslim clerics are some of the leaders who have criticised Joho over the threat for forced testing saying this would be illegal.

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