COVID-19: Government Wants County Chiefs to Prioritize Health Matters
By PETER KOMBE AND MWAKWAYA RAYMOND
With spiking numbers of COVID 19 in the country, County governments have been urged to prioritize the targets into beefing up their health facilities in readiness to deal with the expected spiraling of daily cases.
Announcing the 24-hour figures for Wednesday, July 9, 2020, the health cabinet secretary Mutahi Kagwe said a total of 447 people had tested positive of coronavirus becoming the highest so far recorded in Kenya.
In recent time, the dreadful disease has been increasing at an alarming rate sparking the health authority to issue warning to the 47 counties to brace for the waste scenario by sprucing the facilities.
In order to address the bulging numbers in various counties, the CS wants the health institutions to expand their bed capacities as well as the intensive care units (ICU) so as to be well prepared for any eventualities now that cessations in Mombasa, Nairobi and Mandera have been withdrawn.
But since President Uhuru Kenyatta lifted movement ban Kenyans have been on red alert and concerned this would further drastically increase the number of cases in the country whose total inch towards the projected 10,000 by first weeks of August.
Easing the partial lockdown in hotspot counties, fears are that this will increase travel from cities like Nairobi and Mombasa considered the epicentres of COVID 19 in the country with their prevalence high numbers of cases.
As it is, many Kenyans have thrown caution out of the window on the strict compliance as directed by the Ministry of Health to control the spreading infections to the rural folks in the countryside.
However, some Kenyans have welcomed the Presidential announcement saying it will go a long way to contribute significantly to the revival of the economy that according them was on the verge of collapse.
Speaking in Mombasa County’s Coast General Referral Hospital, Mr Kagwe said the responsibility of combating coronavirus has been placed on Kenyans hands to deal with the spiking cases.
“We must continue putting pressure to County governments to expand their healthcare facilities and health personnel to offer quality services,” he added.
According to him the number of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds throughout the country has increased tremendously compared to before the outbreak of COVID 19 with efforts being made to acquire more ventilators for the same.
The CS urged every Kenyan to be extra cautious in their daily activities so as to avoid contracting the disease especially in the transport and worship areas
Releasing his daily COVID 19, the secretary could not explain why the disease seemed to hit men hard compared to women with the day’s numbers indicating the 280 men tested positive against 167 women.
Although discharges of the disease are impressive with a total of 2,657 while the county has 738 patients recovering, the government wants strict adherence to its directives to flatten the curve in the country.
The home care-based alternative is seen as the way forward in managing the increasing patient loads in different parts of the country with ministry targeting to train more health care givers in that line.
“A total of 335 corona patients are under home based care in Mombasa county 4 patients have succumbed to the disease bringing the number of deaths to 173,” Mr Kagwe said.
According to him the government has trained over 60,000 health volunteers in a bid to combat the spread of the disease.
Mombasa deputy governor William Kingi confirmed that the mass testing exercise was still ongoing with the County government putting in place measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
The Coast General Referral Hospital, he says, has a bed capacity of 150 to handle severe cases of the pandemic.
“We also have the Technical University of Mombasa which has a bed capacity of 300. This facility handles moderate cases of the disease,” he adds.
According to him the County has a total of 335 persons who are currently under home based care with supervisory role of monitoring by its health authorities.
In his Mombasa tour, Mr Kagwe was accompanied by his chief administrative secretary Dr Mercy Mwangangi, health acting director and WHO’s executive board Vice-President Dr Patrict Amoth alongside other dignitaries.