Covid-19: Mass testing kicks off in Kawangware, Nairobi

Ministry of Health's Julius Shem carrying out samples from residents of Kawangware during mass testing for Covid-19. [Jonah Onyango/Standard]

Mass testing for Covid-19 kicked off in Kawangware, Nairobi on Friday morning.

The Ministry of Health said they had identified markets as one of the areas with high rates of transmission.

Surveillance teams were deployed at different zones around Kawangware to allow for testing of several people.

Dina Nato, a Kawangware resident is among residents who got tested. “I wanted to know my status so that I get prepared just in case I have it, I can get treated,” she said.

She added that the process is not painful and urged other residents to get tested. She said the results will be sent to them through email, though she was not sure how long they are supposed to wait.

“The first thing you are asked is whether you have been sick in the last 14 days, they also ask your age and if you have any underlying issues,” said Nato.

In the daily Covid-19 briefing today, Acting Director for the Health Ministry Dr Patrick Amoth said that going forward in the month of May, what the country is likely to see will be determined by the targeted mass testing that is taking place in Kawangware, Eastleigh and Mvita in Mombasa.

“If we continue with the measures we have taken before, the handwashing, the use of sanitizers, wearing our face masks and physical and social distancing, then it is likely the figures will just hover around as it shows,” said Amoth.

He said based on the results of the mass testing, the Ministry will be able to give figures going forward. “Modelling keeps on changing taking into consideration of new data,” Amoth said.

On Wednesday, Health CAS Mercy Mwangangi said mass testing is essential for tracking down cases with symptoms; identifying their household clusters and tracing people they have contacted and quarantining them till they are no longer infectious.

Reports indicate that so far, 14 people form Kawangware have contracted the coronavirus. The area is deemed to have one of the country’s most vulnerable populations.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) census that was conducted last year indicated that Kawangware has a population of 291,565 people.