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Hope as virus cases in Mombasa start to fall

By Gatonye Gathura | July 20th 2020 at 12:00:00 GMT +0300

In a week of increasing Covid-19 cases and deaths in the country, Mombasa reported what may be the first flattening of the pandemic curve in the county.

“We may be winning the battle having recorded no critical case in two weeks and a general reduction in positive tests,” said Mohamed Sood.

He said there were signs that the pandemic had reached the plateau in almost all sub-counties of Mombasa.

Dr Sood, who is coordinating the fight in Mombasa County, was addressing health workers in a webinar organised by the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH).

“That is incredible news,” said Loice Ombajo, head of the infectious diseases division at KNH.

Covid 19 Time Series


Dr Ombajo, however, cautioned the Mombasa Covid-19 team to be on the lookout for a possible second wave and to guard against complacency.

On Friday, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe also acknowledged that there were indications the pandemic had reached the plateau stage in Mombasa.

“We are seeing indications the disease is steadying in Mombasa,” he said during the daily update on the pandemic.

In another positive development, Sood announced that Mombasa was experimenting on an online app called Jitenge to track patients on home-based care.

The app, developed by a private company, mHealth Kenya, with support from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Ministry of Health, tracks the movements and health condition of registered individuals.

The app will send reminders to patients to check their temperature and other symptoms and relay these to assigned health workers.

It will also track the location and movement of the patients such that if one fails to respond to an alert after several reminders, it will notify a health worker for action.

Dr Catherine Mwangi of mHealth Kenya said so far, about 5,000 people including those who have been on quarantine, truck drivers, and health workers have registered with the app. 

And the National Commission for Science, Technology, and Innovation (Nacosti) has licensed the first Covid-19 human clinical trials in the country. Nacosti has the overall and final authority over the conduct of all research in Kenya.

“We have granted a research licence for the World Health Organisation’s Solidarity trial to be carried out in Kenya,” the agency said in a statement.

Solidarity is studying the effectiveness and safety of several drugs in the treatment of Covid-19 in more than 35 countries including Kenya. In Kenya, it will be carried out in seven hospitals across the country.

Currently, there are six applications for the experimental use of various drugs and vaccines on Kenyans.

So far, only two - the Solidarity and Empacta Covid-19 human clinical studies - have made the mandatory applications to the Pharmacy and Poisons Board.

The Empacta application, now awaiting Nacosti approval, proposes the use of the arthritis drug, tocilizumab (TCZ) on Covid-19 patients at the Aga Khan University Hospital. The study is sponsored by the manufacturer of the drug, Genetech Inc of the US.

Last week, Rashid Aman, Health ministry's Chief Administrative Secretary confirmed that so far no human trials for Covid-19 vaccines or drugs have started in Kenya.

“We have not started on any clinical studies for either treatment or vaccines and if that time comes we shall tell you,” Dr Aman told the media.

Other medicines such as dexamethasone have been used on patients locally with positive results.

Last month, a study in the UK reported that dexamethasone, a drug that is locally available in Kenya for treating arthritis and other conditions, was shown to save Covid-19 patients lives.

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