Almost 40 lost their lives in a week as the Health ministry linked self-medication to the rising Covid-19 deaths
The Ministry of Health has cited self-medication as one of the reasons behind a rise in Covid-19 deaths in Kenya to 646.
In the past week, 39 patients have died raising fears that while the new infections might be reducing, fatalities seem to be rising.
Yesterday, 148 new cases were reported from 2,438 samples raising the case load to 36,724. Four deaths were reported too. The number of recoveries increased by 98 to reach 23,709.
On Tuesday, the ministry reported 10 deaths just a day after indicating that 22 patients were on critical care with 15 on ventilatory support and seven on supplementary oxygen.
Of the 10 who died, seven did not have any underlying condition.
Health Director-General Dr Patrick Amoth said cases of self-medication due to the similarity of symptoms of the disease may have contributed to the deaths.
“The symptoms of Covid-19 are not specific, someone will simply take over-the-counter medication thinking that you are dealing with ordinary flu yet you could be dealing with a deadly virus that causes Covid-19,” he said.
Covid-19 is characterised by flu-like symptoms such as fever and sore throat.
The DG noted that late referrals from community-based health services for specialised treatment have also played a role as well as silent hypoxemia.
Silent hypoxemia is when someone has dangerously low oxygen blood levels but they still feel fine.
“By the time you report the disease has affected a number of your organs and salvaging you becomes a problem,” he said during the daily Covid-19 update briefing.
However, Kenya’s young population has been instrumental in keeping the case fatality rate to a low of 1.7 per cent compared to the current global rate of 3.2, considering that more than 65 per cent of the population is below 35 years.
Health Chief Administrative Secretary Dr Mercy Mwangangi said there is a lot that determines the recovery of someone from the disease.
“When we say someone has died of Covid-19, remember people have other conditions apart from the underlying conditions that determine if their immunity is able to fight off the virus. It is not a simple matter that we lost 10 people yesterday and so yesterday was a bad day,” the CAS said.
She said the people who died were in hospital for a varied number of days.
“Some for three days and others for a few weeks and in that period, many things can happen, which will determine how your body will fight off the disease,” she added.