The Ministry of Health has released guidelines on how to record the cause of death for patients with Covid-19.
The guidelines, issued to healthcare workers, indicate that a Covid-19 death should only be categorised as such when the patient dies due to symptoms directly related to the disease.
For instance, if one dies in an accident, and the body tests positive for Covid-19, the death will not be counted among the pandemic numbers.
However, such a case will still be taken to be a positive diagnosis disease and be included in the daily tally.
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“Persons with Covid-19 can die of other diseases or accidents. Such cases are not deaths due to Covid-19 and should not be certified as such,” states the guidelines signed by Health Director General Patrick Amoth.
The guidelines are contained in the document titled 'Standard Operating Procedures in Handling of Health Records and Information Management During the Covid-19 Pandemic.'
The document indicates that the attending clinician or doctor or pathologist can complete the Medical Certification of Cause of Death.
“When it is impractical for the attending clinician or doctor or pathologist to do so, the hospital management may designate some staff to manage Covid-19 cases and therefore should be the one to ensure notification of cause of death (D1 form) is filled immediately death occurs,” states the guidelines.
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The document describes a death due to Covid-19 as a demise resulting from a clinically compatible illness, in a probable or confirmed Covid-19 case, unless there is a clear alternative cause of death that cannot be related to the disease.
“A death due to Covid-19 may not be attributed to another disease and should be counted independently of pre-existing conditions that are suspected of triggering a severe course of the disease,” states the guidelines.
Until Wednesday, Kenya had reported 50 deaths associated with Covid-19. According to the Health ministry, all of the cases had underlying health conditions.
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe named HIV, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes as some of the underlying conditions.
The new guidelines indicate that there is evidence that people with existing chronic conditions or compromised immune systems due to disability are at higher risk of death due to Covid-19.
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