State should take care of Covid-19 quarantine charges

Photo|Courtesy: Dr. Githinji Gitahi, Group CEO Amref

Government should take charge of handling isolation costs of those found positive with Covid-19. Speaking during KTN Prime, Amref CEO Dr. Githinji Gitahi has warned that mass testing that is currently ongoing in some parts of the country is likely to face a bigger challenge because of low numbers of people willing to be tested.

“Targeted mass testing is the right strategy but we have to ask ourselves of the fears and anxiety surrounding our community. People have fear based on what they have seen in terms of cost on individuals when they are being isolated. So who will foot the cost when they are isolated for 14 days?”

According to Gitahi, ideally isolation should be conducted at homes but due to our home settings in Africa, you will find many people in one house making it difficult to achieve isolation.

“This whole exercise needs to be government led but community owned. This should be brought to the people without fears knowing that the government will foot the cost and we show the compassionate side of the isolation centers, “says Dr. Githinji.

Mass testing was kick started in Eastleigh where 494 showed up against the expected 3000 mark while in Kawangware 803 against the 2000 expected target.

“If we are going to do mass testing it is a priority we resolve the issue on who is going to foot the cost of isolation. If we don’t then mass testing will be a waste of resources. Unless we reassure Kenyans that this public health need is going to be paid for things will not be easier. It also reminds us that universal coverage is a priority, if we had achieved this then people would just be carrying their cards to the isolation centers,” says Dr. Githinji.

The latest Kenyan statistics of Covid-19 in the country show two new cases were reported in Bungoma County and more counties are likely to join in.

“In other countries we see them carrying out mass testing with a need of flattening the curve, such countries have created out of hospital isolation centers that are descent. Here in the country about 70 per cent of the cases are asymptomatic,” adds Dr. Githinji.

Mombasa and Nairobi counties are currently leading in high coronavirus cases numbers with the latest entry 19 coming from Mombasa and 8 from Nairobi.

“Countries that have become epicenters of the virus are mainly due to having an International airport and high urbanization. It is not surprising that Nairobi and Mombasa counties have high numbers but when we see cases rising rapidly like in Old Town, Mombasa it means that the measures put in place are not been adhered to,” says Dr. Githinji.

As of yesterday 883 samples were tested and 30 people were confirmed to have tested positive for the virus.