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246 new Covid-19 cases as State beats drums for malaria testing

Reproductive Health - By Hillary Orinde

Kenya reported 246 new coronavirus infections in the past 24 hours, the health ministry said on Tuesday, even as it decried the toll stigmatisation was having on Malaria treatment in the country.

The new cases, from some 4,149 samples, push the national infection load to 32,803.

Health Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Dr Rashid Aman (pictured) said hospitals were initially treating about 300,000 people for Malaria per week but the number had reduced to about 100,000 since March.

"The malaria symptoms, are similar to those of the Covid-19, that is fever, weak joints, lack of appetite among others," Dr Aman told a televised press briefing from Nairobi.

"Majority of our people who have been getting these symptoms, and happen to be suffering from malaria, have shied away from visiting our health facilities."

This, the CAS added, was posing a great danger as people only sought medical attention once the situation worsened.

Dr Aman said the drastic drop in people visiting hospitals could be attributed to those with Malaria symptoms self-medicating at home and their fear of being tested for Covid-19 or of contracting the disease when visiting health facilities.

All these are very misinformed notions, Dr Aman noted, adding that "failure to do so (visit hospitals), could lead to severe malaria which can lead to death."

"Severe malaria is caused by the delayed diagnosis of malaria, seeking treatment late, wrong treatment of mild malaria as well as resistance to first-line of antimalarial drugs," he explained.

Dr Aman said Fosun Pharma of China had donated antimalarial drug to the ministry worth Sh73 million.

The consigned consists of 400,000 vials of the injectable drug and could treat about 70,000 patients with severe malaria.

"The drug that is being donated is Artesunate injection 60 mg for the treatment of severe malaria, a life-threatening condition," he said.

"That we are receiving this donation does not mean we have a shortage. Far from it. In fact, our health facilities have all the commodities we need to treat our people for malaria," Dr Aman said as he implored those who develop malaria symptoms to visit hospitals.

On the Covid-19 cases; Dr Aman said all the patients save for five were Kenyans aged between two and 77 years.

"In terms of gender, 170 are males and 76 females," he said.

Nairobi reported 75 cases followed by Kiambu (28), Kisumu (18), Machakos (16), Garissa (13) and Lamu 10. Migori and Turkana counties had nine cases with Uasin Gishu (8) Mombasa (7), Taita Taveta (7), Nyeri (6) and Kilifi (5).

Murang’a, Laikipia and Kitui counties each had four while Kajiado and Kwale reported three each. Makueni, Embu, Nakuru, Nandi and Baringo had two cases each.

Bungoma, Busia, Kakamega, Nyamira, Tana River, Isiolo and Tharaka Nithi each recorded a single case.

At the same time, there were 160 recoveries to push the cumulative discharges to 19,055.

"Our appreciation goes to our healthcare workers for the good work they are doing," Dr Aman said, noting that 34 patients were discharged from various hospitals.

Unfortunately, five patients succumbed to the disease, bringing the fatalities to 559.


Malaria Coronavirus Covid-19

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