Procedure turns away Kenyans from taking Covid-19 tests

Monday, July 13th, 2020 00:00 |
Some of the tour drivers waiting for their results for Covid-19 at the Kenya Medical Research institute headquarters Nairobi. Photo/PD/BENARD ORWONGO

About 45 per cent of Kenyans are not willing to take the Covid-19 test due to fear of the test procedure, a new report shows.

The Ministry of Health has approved nasopharyngeal swabs to collect samples.

The swab is inserted into the nose and then to the nasopharynx where the sample is collected. 

Consequently the report shows that 54 percent of Kenyans are less concerned about the medical risks stemming from the Covid-19 virus as compared to 71 per cent of respondents who were very worried about the virus in April 

In Nairobi alone, the report shows the numbers of people fearing to contract Covid-19 has dropped from 54 per cent in April to 50 per cent in mid-June.

The survey released by regional research firm Trends and Insights For Africa (TIFA) however noted that 90 percent of Kenyans were willing to take the Covid-19 test as compared to 10 percent who are not willing.


According to the report, nearly all respondents said they would agree to have a free test for the Covid-19 virus, with no contrasts in terms of gender or age

However, the report shows that the reasons why respondents were unwillingness to get tested is because Social stigma (15 per cent), fear of being forcibly quarantined (11 per cent), and the cost of medical expenses (four per cent).

“Nearly all respondents say they would agree to have a free test for the Covid-19 virus, with no contrasts in terms of gender or age.

Among the few 10 percent who say they would not, the main reason is fear of the procedure, though fear of the social stigma, fear of being forcibly quarantined, and the cost of potential medical expenses – if found to be positive – were also mentioned,” Reads the report in part: 

The report whose objective was to measure the level of awareness of the disease among residents of selected low income areas in Nairobi, and their level of concern also shows that 55 per cent of Nairobi’s informal settlements residents are not aware of the country’s Covid-19 caseload, while five per cent mentioned incorrect figures.

The report shows that only 13 per cent of the city residents are aware of the rate of infection, including numbers of fatalities.

According to the report, Nairobi has registered the highest number of Covid-19 cases in Kenya as nearly one-third of the national total have tested positive.

With regards to awareness of Covid-19 symptoms is concerned, the report shows that 80 per cent of city residents are aware of coughing at 84 per cent, followed by fever at 69 per cent, while breathing complications only  40 per cent are aware of it.

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