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The Pandemic: 100-days on – KBC

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It has been 100-days since the country registered the first COVID-19 case, a woman who had travelled back to home from the United States.

KBC Radio_KICD Timetable

Since then, the figures have tremendously skyrocketed to 4738, with 1602 documented recoveries and 121 deaths from the COVID-19 disease.

As the country marks 100 days, Cabinet Secretary for Health who was barely two weeks in the office said that he knew nothing about Coronavirus.

CS Kagwe said that during the confirmation of the first case, Kenya had only eight infectious disease beds saying that the Health Ministry was ill-prepared to deal with a pandemic such as the COVID-19.

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“Today marks 100-days since the first case, and it has been a journey one which has familiarized as with such terms as ‘Social distancing,’ ‘contact tracing,’ ‘quarantine,’ and ‘community spread,’ he said.

Currently, 40 out of 47 counties have reported COVID-19 cases.

New normal

With the Government and the Ministry of Health placing several measures to avoid the surge of new cases, life hasn’t been normal for Kenyans.

The perception that COVID-19 was a disease for the elderly, it brought to light that disease could affect anyone including the young who represent a significant percentage of the country’s population.

In efforts to contain the virus, the health ministry urged Kenyans to wear face masks, keep social distance, the regular wash of hands and use of hand sanitizers which were not accustomed to in our daily lives.

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The Government would later impose 21-day dusk to dawn curfew which President Uhuru Kenyatta on June 6th would later extend to a 30 day period.

The President also extended a ban on travel into and out of Nairobi Metropolitan Area, the counties of Kilifi, Kwale, Mombasa and Mandera to July 6th, the same date the curfew is expected to end.

In a bid to revive the economy, the president pushed the curfew hours to 9 pm and 4 am.

Challenges

In his briefing, CS Kagwe noted the challenges that the country would soon face with the COVID-19 disease already reported in the country.

According to Kagwe, Kenya had never had a situation that required mass testing of individuals in the recent past.

CS Kagwe noted that he had no framework or the experience on how to deal with the disease and regulations on whose responsibility it should be.

He said the Ministry had no reagents and testing kits that are an essential part of managing the pandemic.

“Together with the rest of the world, we had to begin the competitive process of procuring Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) that were critical in protecting the healthcare workers,” he said.

“Shortages in human resources, medical equipment and physical infrastructure and preparedness were a daunting task,” he said.

The Health Ministry would later on adapt and learn quickly largely through trial, tribulations and innovation that particularly impacted the quarantine system.

Milestones

The Health CS noted the significant increase in testing capacity over the months, which has aided in identifying those with the virus.

In March, the health officials conducted tests on 3419 samples which have tremendously increased to 59,958 in June.

CS Kagwe said that the increase in the number of samples tested was due to the upgrade of testing capacity.

The financial allocations from development partners and donors and well-wishers to combat COVID-19 enhanced the testing capacity but also the distribution of free masks to the vulnerable communities.

It has also brought the additional hiring 4509 health care workers to operate the 189 ventilators in the country.



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