State concerned over Kenyans not seeking medical care

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020 00:00 |
Chief Administrative Secretary for Health Rashid Aman addresses the media on coronavirus. Photo/PD/John Ochieng

Noah Cheploen @cheploennoah

The government has expressed concerns over the growing trend where Kenyans with various ailments are avoiding hospitals on a day the number of coronavirus cases rose to 2,093 after 72 more people tested positive. 

During yesterday’s daily briefing, Health CAS Rashid Aman attributed this development to stigmatisation of the coronavirus pandemic, saying people fear they might contract it in hospital yet that is the safest place to go. 

“Our facilities are there to save you. We have put in place infection control measures and we are encouraging you to seek medical care if you are unwell,” Aman said. 

There are fears that many cases go unreported because people fear going to hospital. Last month, the government said at least 15 people succumbed to coronavirus at home in Mombasa. 

As result, many hospitals, especially private ones, are sending their staff home because of lack of patients. 

Aman said the government was considering imposing stringent measures to contain further spread of the disease as it emerged that Kibera informal settlement was turning into the epicenter of the virus.  

Exact cluster

“We continue to watch this epicenter within Kibra very closely with a view of mapping out the exact cluster because it is not the entire Kibra. Once we get enough information we will always introduce new measures,” he said.

He added that informal settlements were presenting unique challenges in the fight against the pandemic. 

Of the 72 cases reported yesterday, 16 were from Kibera, Embakasi South (eight), Ruaka (five), Westlands (five) and Langata (two) while a few other areas in the city reported one case each. 

In total, Nairobi had 39 new cases followed by Busia with 13 and Mombasa had eight where Mvita and Changamwe reported two cases each while Likoni and Nyali had one case each. 

Eight cases were also reported in Kajiado, majority at Namanga border point, Migori (three), Kiambu and  Garissa  two each while one case was reported in Kisumu. 

Some 2,890 samples were tested in the latest figures provided by the Ministry of Health bringing the total number of samples tested since the first case was reported in March to 82,946. 

There was ray of hope after 17 more patients were discharged after recovering bringing the number of recoveries to 499.  However, two more patients succumbed to the respiratory disease. 

“The stage where we are in this fight requires that we remain focused and united. The behaviour and attitude by a few of our people suggests the opposite,” said Aman. 

“There are those of us who for reasons only known to themselves do not want to obey the containment measures,” he said, warning politicians in particular to lead by example. 

Containment measures

As a ministry, we have made our statement and the containment measures are still firmly in place, he said. “These measures apply to each one of us equally,” he added. 

Politicians have raised a storm by holding strategy meetings and press conferences despite the government banning public meetings. 

At the same time, Aman pleaded with long distant truck drivers to obey the regulations put in place to avoid causing congestions at the border points something that has become a major cause of concern for East African countries. 

He said truck drivers were required to undergo Covid-19 tests 48 hours before leaving for their destinations.

“They can only depart after getting the Covid-19 clearance certificate unfortunately some drivers are not following these rules and protocols,” he said. 

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