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Home / Health & Science

Uhuru: We're on track but not out of the woods yet

HEALTH & SCIENCEBy GRAHAM KAJILWA AND WILFRED AYAGA | Fri,Apr 17 2020 00:00:00 EAT
By GRAHAM KAJILWA AND WILFRED AYAGA | Fri,Apr 17 2020 00:00:00 EAT

President Uhuru Kenyatta (above) has announced measures to cushion vulnerable groups and frontline health workers even as nine more people tested positive for Covid-19.

Among the measures is the distribution of stipends to those most in need and a directive to the ministries of Public Service and Health to develop welfare packages for health workers battling the disease.

The president, who delivered his address from State House in Nairobi yesterday, also directed medical insurance companies to take action to cover the requirements of such medical staff.

Covid 19 Time Series

 

He announced a Sh5 billion package to support counties in strengthening their response capacity to Covid-19. The money will be in addition to that already set aside by governors to help mitigate effects of the disease.

While recognising that measures the government has taken on social distancing, curfew and mandatory wearing of masks in public places have slowed down the spread of the virus, the president was categorical that "we are not out of the woods yet".

“This pandemic is still hurting. So far we have done well, but we have to remain careful,” warned the president.

Two weeks ago, the government imposed a partial lockdown of Nairobi, Mombasa, Kilifi and Kwale counties. This is in addition to the countrywide 7 pm-5 am curfew designed to discourage movement.

The president confirmed the release of Sh8.5 billion to elderly persons through the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection under the cash transfer programme and Sh500 million in arrears for people living with disabilities.

He also confirmed the Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund was inching closer to Sh1 billion, with good response from corporates and individual well-wishers.

Uhuru said governors will be required to work closely with county commissioners to ensure the poor and other vulnerable groups are taken care of during the crisis.

“We have identified needy households to receive stipends. The piloting started yesterday (Wednesday) and some have already received their stipends,” he said.

The president further issued a waiver of three months for county governments' procurement through the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority to allow purchase of masks and Personal Protective Equipment for health workers and citizens.

“This waiver applies to sourcing of these products locally,” he said.

He appreciated the ingenuity of young manufactures and innovators who have used this period to develop products that will go a long way in saving millions of Kenyans.

Among them are Kenyatta University students who came up with a low-cost prototype of a ventilator, a key product in managing Covid-19 cases, and designers at Kitui County Textile Centre who are sewing masks and other personal protective equipment.

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