Most Kenyans worried about starvation, new study shows

Friday, April 17th, 2020 00:00 |
Parklands MCA Jayendra Malde distributes foodstuff in Westland on Monday. Photo/PD/DAVID NDOLO

Evelyn Makena @evemake_g

Eight in every 10 Kenyans are worried about not getting enough to eat in the past one week, a poll released yesterday indicates.

The survey also shows that Kenyans are also worried on the likely impact of the coronavirus on the economy. 

The survey conducted by Geopoll on 4,500 respondents in 12 African countries among them Kenya, shows that majority of people, 67 per cent, are adhering to self-quarantining measures to curb the spread of the disease.

But as people heed these measures food security and financial security remain top among their worries. 

“A health crisis such as coronavirus hitting vulnerable populations can have devastating effects on development, food supplies and resources.

Reliable data is needed to accurately track on-the-ground situations, and using our remote mobile methodologies GeoPoll was able to gather valuable information quickly and safely,” said Nicholas Becker, GeoPoll chief executive.

Measures put

In the wake of the various measures imposed by the government to curb the spread of the highly infectious coronavirus, Kenyans have expressed their lack of confidence in the government preparedness. 

According to the poll, less than a third of Kenyans said the government had done enough to stop the spread of the virus.

The poll conducted remotely through a mobile-based research platform shows that there is a higher feeling of helplessness among countries with limited ICU capacity and inadequate supply of oxygen like Kenya. 

In order to stop the spread of the virus, the government has introduced a raft of measures including a dusk-to-dawn curfew and banned travel in and out of Nairobi, Mombasa, Kilifi and Kwale counties where majority of the cases have been reported.

“Some governments in Africa have been proactive about lockdowns in order to prevent the virus from quickly spreading through densely populated areas, but coronavirus is already present in many African nations, and this study shows there is a fear that the worst is yet to come, ” adds Becker.

In Kenya where people feel that the government is poorly prepared, the measures put in place have received limited public support and compliance.

Tabitha Wanjiku, a resident, says apart from lack of public trust, the non-compliance by Kenyans has been aggravated by the poor law enforcement systems in the country.

“People feel that they can break the law and bribe their way out. They do this oblivious that they are putting themselves and others at risk of contracting the virus,” she says.

Overall, 63 per cent for all people polled in the 12 countries feel they are at risk of contracting the virus.

The outbreak has led to change in people’s purchasing patterns. The poll shows that 60 per cent of the respondents were shopping less for food and 69 per cent purchasing less non-essential goods.

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