Western region governors want rapid Covid-19 testing

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2021 01:00 |
Governors James Ongwae (Kisii), Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega)and Anyang Nyong’o address the media in Kisumu, yesterday. Photo/PD/Viola Kosome

Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB) governors yesterday called for rapid coronavirus tests in their counties.

The region was last Thursday declared Covid-19 hotspot, forcing the government to impose additional restrictions to contain the spread of the viral disease.

Consequently, the county chiefs led by James Ongwae (Kisii), Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega) and Anyang’ Nyong’o (Kisumu) warned that inability to carry out rapid test could derail efforts to flatten the curve in the region.

Ongwae said the rising Covid-19 infections, especially community transmissions, called for corresponding rapid test to effectively manage the pandemic.

“We must all agree the capacity for the national government to test all Kenyans for Covid-19 does not exist at the moment.

Therefore, it is incumbent upon the Ministry of Health to allow rapid test to be undertaken in the counties as a first step to identifying and confirming the cases before the start of initial treatment process,” he said adding: “We are a bit worried that even the protocols on rapid test have not been issued by the MoH. The whole issue of rapid testing is also shrouded in mystery.”

Nyong’o said undertaking rapid Covi­d-19 test would give a true reflection of the rate of infection locally.

The region’s total number of cases as at June 20 stood at 28,866 accounting for 16.1 per cent of the total confirmed cases nationally.

He revealed that Lake Basin counties are ready to set aside funds towards the purchase of Covid rapid testing kits.

Oxygen supply

“There is urgent need for rapid test rollout in our counties. This is a proposal that we are going to present to the Health ministry to consider in the management of the pandemic. Rapid testing would give us the extent of the spread of Covid-19 among our population,” he said.

Further, they underscored the need to increase oxygen capacity for counties noting that most counties do not have enough oxygen supply.

This comes even as the governors announced a raft of strategies meant to deal with the pandemic.

Among new proposed strategies include formation of joint Covid response coordination team  to promote inter-county cushioning and sharing of resources and services, adoption of a rapid testing to improve case detection, focusing on border counties of Busia, Migori, Kisumu, Kisii, Kericho and Siaya.

The governors will also hold immediate inhouse meetings to accomplish regional plans on the fight against corona.

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