State asked to exempt patients in Nairobi, Coast region lockdown
The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) now wants Kenyans in need of medical care that is only available in Nairobi or Mombasa to be allowed to access facilities in the wake of the partial lockdown.
The government has outlawed entry into and exit from Kilifi, Kwale, Mombasa and an expanded Nairobi metropolitan area.
A countrywide curfew is also being enforced to control the spread of the coronavirus disease.
However, ICJ wants the government to give directions on how Kenyans who might need access health care facilities during the designated curfew hours, and are unable to access ambulance services can do so without being deemed as contravening the curfew orders and not be subjected to any form of harassment by the police.
In their submissions to the Senate adhoc committee on COVID-19 situation, the Jurists said they concerned on the access of medical services at Kenyatta National Hospital and its capacity to continue providing other health services to patients other than those seeking treatment for COVID-19.
They argued, in light of the order banning movement in and out of the defined Nairobi Metropolitan area, persons travelling to Nairobi for advanced healthcare from outside the metropolitan area face challenges of accessing the National hospital and other major health facilities in the city.
“Of particular concern are those in need of life supporting treatments such as hemodialysis, and those who will require to access major hospitals in Nairobi and Mombasa from outside those counties in the event of medical emergencies,” read part of the submissions by ICJ Kenya President Kelvin Mogeni to the committee chaired by Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja.
Mogeni added: “In the wake of the indiscriminate and harsh enforcement of the curfew by the police, ICJ Kenya is concerned that without addressing the issue of access to health and to health centres, especially from those immediately outside Nairobi and Mombasa, we may witness further violations and there is need to have clear directions on the same,”
The jurists lament that hospitals are taking measures to decongest their facilities in line with the guidelines on physical distancing, meaning the number of patients being admitted in a health facility at any one time is limited.