Accurate information key to defeat of virus

Wednesday, March 4th, 2020 00:00 | By
People wear face masks while commuting on a train on the second day of the Lunar New Year in Hong Kong. Photo/AFP

The world is an high alert as the coronavirus spreads across the globe. Governments the world over are announcing measures to fight the deadly virus.

This is why the government should move fast and provide Kenyans with updated information on how to tackle threat. The public also deserves updates on quarantined cases. 

Besides the Health ministry leading a national campaign to educate Kenyans on prevention measures against the virus, it should provide accurate facts and figures about the disease. 

It means using the traditional and social media platforms, public barazas and mobile phone services such as SMS and WhatsApp to keep citizens updated to debunk false information being spread on social media. 

  The World Health Organisation has declared coronavirus a public health emergency of international dimensions.

Globally, more than 90,000 people in more than 40 countries have been infected and more than 3,000 deaths registered, majority in China’s Hubei province, the epicentre of the epidemic.

Already, six countries in Africa have confirmed cases, while others have announced suspected cases under investigation. Almost all Middle Eastern countries have confirmed cases of infection.

It is a race against time. It is high time the Health ministry, with the help of public health officials, rolled out a programme to teach learners how to safeguard themselves and to help contain any outbreak.

This includes re-launching hand-washing sensitisation campaigns with the support of corporate entities.

Research already indicates that hand-washing prevalence in schools in Kenya is low due to lack of access to water and soap. 

The virus threat also means making of contingency plans by examination bodies in case school calendars are interrupted.

For instance, Japan closed all its schools beginning Monday until early April while several schools have been closed in Britain and US.

It is, therefore, an opportune time for the State to insist that  institution managers implement the Safety Standards Manual for Schools.  

The school health programme in the booklet should be a shared responsibility involving the school, sponsors, parents and the community, which includes government administrators and public health workers.

Corporates, under their social responsibility departments and led by the Kenya Private Sector Alliance, should also assist the government in public health education campaigns. 

More on News