Inside Politics

Why are people collapsing and dying suddenly?

Tuesday, July 28th, 2020 00:00 |
Workers at Shona Enterprise in EPZ, Athi River, Machakos county making face masks to that will be distributed by the government to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the country. Photo/PD/CHRISTINE MUSA

The rise in cases of people collapsing and dying on the spot across the country is worrying health experts, amid fears it could be as a result of rising cases of Covid-19 infections.

Yesterday alone, three people reportedly collapsed and died in Makueni, Nairobi and Mombasa counties.

In the first case which occurred at Kitivo village in Makueni, an elderly man died shortly after complaining of headache and breathing difficulties in what health officials said was the result of Covid-19.

Makueni Health Executive Dr Andrew Mulwa confirmed the 65-year-old had tested positive for the virus.

Police from Sultan Hamud Police Station said they had visited the scene and “informed Public Health Personnel for the purpose of fumigation before the body was moved to the morgue”.

In the second incident reported in Nairobi, a street boy collapsed and died minutes after complaining of chest pains and breathing complications.

Members of the public scampered for safety as police and officers from public health moved in to collect the body near NCPB stores.

A street boy only identified as Hosea said the deceased had for some days complained of chest pains before he passed on.

“We are not sure the cause of death though it has been very cold and rainy in this area and we suspect this could have caused the death,” he said.

Former head of Disease Prevention and Control at the Ministry of Health Dr Willis Akhwale, is now warning that cases of people dropping dead could become common once the pandemic reaches its peak between late September and August, as projected by the Ministry of Health (MoH).

Akhwale warned the virus is spreading and those in denials could be shocked when it reaches its pick where “cases of people dropping dead could start to be experienced locally as it happened in Italy and China.”

The incidents of people collapsing and dying have been on the rise in the recent past, something that has continued to raise concern across the country especially bearing in mind the context of the Covid-19 situation.

In yet another incident a man who was reportedly admitted at the Technical University of Mombasa (TUM) Covid-19 isolation center alongside his family, reportedly collapsed and died shortly after developing breathing difficulties.

Medical officials

Family members have however faulted poor response by medical officials attached to the facility saying delayed response may have caused their kin’s death.

According to the family, the deceased had an asthma attack but medics failed to respond timely. We could however not verify this claim, since both Health Executive Hazel Koitaba and Chief Officer of Health Khadija Shikely failed to answer our calls or reply to our text messages.

In the last two weeks similar cases have been reported in Mlolongo, Meru and Dandora.

In Dandora area, on Monday of July 20, a man reportedly collapsed and died, few minutes after alighting from a Matatu at Dandora phase three.

He was said to have developed health complications and requested boda boda operators to rush him to hospital but they reportedly declined.

In the process, he collapsed and died on the spot. His lifeless boy was abandoned sprawling by the roadside until Tuesday, July 21.

The incident sparked fears of Covid-19 amongst residents of Wamulembe estate in Dandora Phase Three.

In an almost similar incident on Tuesday, a police officer guarding Equity Bank, Makutano branch in Meru town collapsed and died causing panic among staff and residents.

North Imenti police boss Robinson Mboloi said the officer collapsed in a washroom inside the bank.

There was panic after the County Covid-19 surveillance team who picked the body while wearing personal preventive equipment cordoned off the bank hall.

The body was picked about two hours after the officer passed on due to Covid-19 precautions.

On July 23 a man collapsed and died outside a cereals shop in Mwihoko Estate of Githurai sparking tension among resident.

Eyewitnesses said that the man struggled for a few minutes before he passed on.

Police and the Ministry of Health officials in Ruiru were alerted and they picked the body and took it to the mortuary.

The officials were donning Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). However, last week in the daily Covid-19 briefings by Health CAS Mercy Mwangangi said there was no cause for concern  because “people have been passing away even before Covid-19”

“People have been dropping down even before Covid-19. Please Partner with us so as to allay fears and let Kenyans realise that other diseases are still around and not just Covid-19,” she said.

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