State restates stand in dementia fight

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2020 12:00 |
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe. Photo/PD/File

The government has reiterated its commitment to battling dementia, which is associated with severe memory loss among other difficulties particularly during this period of coronavirus pandemic. 

During yesterday’s Covid-19 daily briefing, Health CS Mutahi Kagwe cited stigma as one of the challenges that dementia patients are facing. 

He said that the Ministry of Health is working closely with the World Health Organisation (WHO) with a view to developing Dementia Action Plan and positioning the country among the first countries in Africa to develop such a plan. 

Although he said there are 3,000 registered dementia patients in the country, Kagwe said that none of them as so far died as a result of coronavirus. He said the ministry is in the process of developing anti-stigma toolkit. 

“Luckily, there has been no reported death amongst these people as a result of Covid-19,” he said.

He said one of the challenges dementia patients go through is getting right words and understanding what people are saying. 

Kenya is honoured to be among the countries globally involved In STRIDE PROJECT (Strengthening Response to Dementia in Developing countries, he said. 

He said that part of its mandate is to take anti-stigma campaign to the grassroots and within communities. 

“Ninety per cent of dementia cases could be prevented or delayed by targeting risk factors such as head injury and obesity,” he said. 

Anti-stigma campaign 

Yesterday’s briefing coincided with World Alzheimer’s Day.

At the same time, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country has risen to 37,079 after 98 more people tested from some 1,644 samples conducted in the last 24 hours.  

The cumulative tests since the first cases was reported in March now stands at 518,350, he said, adding that Nairobi leads with 20,253 confirmed cases followed by Mombasa with 2,775. 

Others are Kiambu (2,647), Kajiado (1,929), Machakos (1,298) while Busia comes sixth with 1,197 cases each.

Elgeyo Marakwet and West Pokot counties have the lowest infection with seven each so far.  

Two more patients have succumbed to the disease bringing the number of deaths to 650 while the number of recoveries has risen to 23,949 after 62 more patients were discharged. 

The country has posted less than 200 cases on a daily basis since August, in what is largely attributed to the Ministry’s of Health’s low testing capacity due to lack of reagents.

Kenya has been on a partial lockdown since March, when the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in the country, stalling the economy.

Schools and bars were subsequently closed as well as a ban on public rallies and large gatherings even though top political leaders have defied the ban lately.

President Uhuru Kenyatta was expected to issue new directives on the containment measures later September, including the fate of schools, colleges and universities.

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