Only national efforts can defeat Covid-19 pandemic

Thursday, March 26th, 2020 00:00 |
We will not be able to return immediately to life as it was before.

The government has spelled out a raft of measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The country is sitting on the edge placing its faith on health professionals who have been thrust in the deep end in the battle against the disease.

Kenya is confronted with a serious situation. Kenyans, and indeed the world, have not experienced a public health crisis of such magnitude  in the recent history.

That is why Kenyans must pull together in the war that demands greater personal and government responsibility. 

With the number of cases in the country rising daily, energies are now directed at prevention of further spread of the disease with a particular attention to the most vulnerable especially the rural poor, mainly the elderly.

To say the behaviour of some senior public officials and clergymen has been most irresponsible is an understatement.

The country is horrified by accounts that some cleric and politicians had refused to self-quarantine having travelled into the country from countries hit by the pandemic. 

On coming home, they interacted with the most vulnerable groups in rural villages, putting their lives in danger.

This was in defiance of a government advisory for mandatory self-isolation by those coming into the country. 

It is worrisome that some of the officials from whom we expected more responsibility have tested positive of the respiratory disease.

Some of the measures spelt out by the government include travel bans, forced quarantine, an emphasis on social distancing, closure of public learning institutions, markets and stringent regulations in the public transport sector. 

Nairobi, Kilifi, Kwale, Siaya and Mombasa counties have already been identified as the regions most exposed to the virus, demanding more stringent intervention measures.

We are, however, alarmed by the discharge of what authorities say are “stable” patients from hospitals to address the challenge of congestion in health institutions.

In Kilifi, for instance, the county government has ordered the discharge all patients whose conditions can be managed at home. Hospitals in other parts of the country have issued similar directives. 

We understand the need for social distancing but extra caution must be exercised to ensure lives are not put into greater danger by reckless discharge of patients. 

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