TUM’s Covid treatment centre closed to pave way for classes

Thursday, October 1st, 2020 00:00 |
Education CS George Magoha. Photo/PD/GERAD ITHANA

Reuben Mwambingu @reubenmwambingu

The 300-bed Technical University of Mombasa (TUM) Covid-19 isolation centre is expected to be shut down today, to pave way for resumption of learning after more than six months of closure.

Last week, Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha, directed that all learning institutions that hosted Covid-19 isolation, treatment and quarantine centers be fumigated and handed back to the ministry in preparation for resumption of classes.

Vice-Chancellor Prof Laila Abubakar confirmed the vacuation process had kicked off, adding that 50 beds have already been removed.

Following Magoha’s directive on resumption of universities and tertiary institutions, Prof Abubakar said about 1,500 finalists are expected to resume and prepare for exams ahead of the “virtual graduation ceremony” to be communicated at a later date.

“We had already issued them a notice to ensure that by the end of this month the vacuation process is completed to pave the way for the fumigation process ahead of the reopening.

We want to ensure that when the students finally resume, they will be safe and secure,” he said.

He added: “Frequent fumigation has been going on, but the final one will be more thorough since it is expected to be the last before students arrive.”

Resumption process  

Once the fumigation is done, she said, Engineering Department building, which has been hosting the treatment facility will be handed over back to TUM management by the county government.

According to the VC, the university Senate will then meet to deliberate on the resumption process.  

The institution has been handling mild to moderate Covid-19 patients. The government stopped admitting patients, especially after introduction of the home-based care system and now only a handful patients have been left, she said.

“In June, we received a communication from the Cabinet Secretary that we should embark on the strategy to vacate the facility, but after communicating with the county and assessing the situation, we agreed to give them time until September,” she said. 

Abubakar says the institution  had actually stopped admitting patients until a recent case of a positive case. 

Varsity has put in place ample measures to control any possible spread of the virus, including reducing the dormitory capacity to 50 per cent and also encouraging take away at the catering facility.

The VC said, during Magoha’s visit to the institution on September 9, he gave the institution a clean bill of health and commended the varsity for the progress it had made towards complying with the Ministry of Health Covid-19 guidelines.

“CS was impressed that TUM has remained at the forefront of innovation. We manufactured a sanitiser brand, Aerosol, that has been very effective and even adopted by the Kenya Ferry Services for commuter use at the Likoni crossing,” she said, adding that the CS made an extensive tour of the institution, during which he inspected labs, lecture rooms, hostels, dining hall, washrooms among all other amenities

County Communication Director in charge of the Health Department Richard Chacha said plans are on course to start a field Covid-19 centre to replace the TUM facility.

 “We are in the process of identifying an open space in one of the grounds, like the one you see in Machakos to set up the new centre,” Chacha told People Daily.

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