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Ministry kicks off home-based care for Covid-19 cases

By Irene Githinji
Monday, June 22nd, 2020
Health Cabinet secretary Mutahi Kagwe. Photo/Gerald Ithana
In summary

Irene Githinji @gitshee

The Ministry of Health has commenced home-based care for non-critical cases of coronavirus, with 550 patients now recuperating under the system after completing 14-day mandatory quarantine in isolation facilities.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe yesterday said the government was committed to containing the pandemic even as the country marked 100 days since the disease was first reported in the country.

Kagwe made the announcement on a day the country recorded the highest single-day new coronavirus infections at 260 to take the total of cases to 4,738.

“In all probability, coronavirus will eventually stretch our medical systems just as it has done globally even in the wealthiest nations.

Now the time has come for us to take personal ownership and responsibility of this disease as never before,” said the CS, during the daily updates on the status of coronavirus at Afya House, Nairobi.

Of the new cases, Nairobi leads with 157, Mombasa (42), Kwale (15), Kiambu (14), Machakos (nine), Kajiado (seven), Migori (three), Nakuru, (three), Busia, (three), Homa Bay, (two) while Kilifi, Kisii, Kisumu, Kakamega and Laikipia had one case each. 

Another 21 patients were discharged to bring the totals of recoveries to 1,607 while two more succumbed to the disease, bringing the cumulative number of fatalities to 123.

So far, the Kenyatta University Referral Hospital has discharged 338 non-critical active cases and another 212 persons from Coast General Hospital released to receive home based care.

Health Acting Director General, Dr Patrick Amoth assured that World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines had been followed to the letter while undertaking home-based care.

“Some 550 people have proceeded for home-based care from two major institutions that have served many coronavirus cases and so far we are receiving good information from the ground  that we have not had any mortalities and out of these 50 people have already been discharged from further care,” said Amoth.   

Allaying fears that the home-based care system could lead to further infections,   Amoth said it was not a new concept in the field of medicine, explaining that it places a premium of the person to be able to be a responsible person.

Kagwe outlined the coronavirus journey, saying the country had come a long way since the first case was confirmed.

He said the pandemic had changed the perception that coronavirus was a disease of the elderly to reality and that it could affect anyone, including the young who represent a significant percentage of the population, has been part lessons learnt.

Initially, Kagwe said, there were only eight beds for infectious diseases, an indication that the country was ill-prepared to deal with a pandemic such as coronavirus.

In 100 days and with the disease having spread to 40 out of 47 counties, he observed that the country’s bearing is clear and directions determined. 

“We have put in the work, taking note of and learning from challenges and failures we have experienced since this journey began,” said the Minister  who had only been in the Health docket for two weeks when the disease was first confirmed.

He said Kenya had never been in a situation requiring mass quarantine of individuals and did not have a framework for it.

“We are aware that we inconvenienced many of you in the process of quarantining and for that I would like to offer my apology with assurance that our systems are now much better and practical. We are still learning,” he said.

Also as part of the achievement, Kagwe said, guidelines for safe provision of services had been developed, including ensuring  personal protective equipment (PPEs) were available in all healthcare facilities.

Month by month statistics indicate that 78 patients tested positive, 328 were confirmed in April and another 1,615 and 2,717 were confirmed in May and as at June 21 respectively.

But even as Kenyans are confined to mitigate spread of coronavirus, Kagwe said an invisible silent killer, depression was on the rise.

At the same time, Kagwe issued a stern warning to people still congregating for various reasons, especially political purposes saying they risked spreading the disease.

He urged Kenyans to desist from attending such gatherings.

“For those attending gatherings, the virus does not have a political party. This virus will kill you irrespective of whose gathering you go to,” uttered Kagwe.

The CS, however, lauded Kenyans for what he termed change in behavior as well as creativity. 

On his part, ICT Cabinet Secretary, Joe Mucheru directed Communications Authority work with Internet Service Providers to ensure children were protected online and parents learnt how to filter websites from harmful content.

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