The government has now raised concern over stigma that recovered Covid-19 patients are facing in the community.
Health Chief Administrative Secretary Mercy Mwangangi, while confirming 10 more cases of the virus, said recovered patients are having a hard time being accepted back into their community.
Dr Mwangangi said while the country continues to report more recoveries, that stood at 129 by yesterday, these gains were being derailed by the refusal of families and communities to take these patients back.
Due to this stigma, which she described as disturbing, Mwangangi said the planned mass testing of people in the already targeted areas would be difficult. “Stigmatisation will lead to few Kenyans who are willing to be tested and it will frustrate the efforts we are putting on the ground to ensure we flatten this curve,” she said.
Mwangangi recited an incident shared by a recovered Covid-19 patient who was in the Intensive Care Unit who confessed to having a hard time with his family accepting him back.
“We are disturbed that re-integration has not been easy for others because of being stigmatised. This is quite unfortunate considering our constant appeal and massive education across many platforms that Covid-19 is like any other disease,” said Mwangangi.
She added: “We really do appeal for compassion in the community, for understanding and even celebrating these people who have gone through this scourge and have been able to recover.”
Of the 129 patients who have so far recovered, five were discharged yesterday. So far the number of confirmed cases stand at 384, with the latest being recorded primarily in Mombasa and Nairobi.
“While this may be indicative of the disease domiciled in these two counties, it is also a pointer to the immense work that we have to do in these two counties,” said Mwangangi.
Of the 10 new cases, nine are in Mombasa and one in Nairobi. All the nine in Mombasa were picked from the community during surveillance.
“It is important that I emphasise at this point that from the data we are synthesising, we are noting that in the beginning of this pandemic we had most of the cases being imported, but right now the tables have turned and most of our cases come from local transmission in our communities,” noted Mwangangi.
She added: “So our containment measures are quite crucial at this point.”
Due to the spread of the community virus in Mombasa, Mwangangi said special attention will be paid to the county.
“As a government we have continued to partner with Mombasa County on containment measures to curtail the spread of infections, and we are organising for additional enhanced surveillance and management support for the county,” she said.
This additional support will involve initiatives from the Devolution ministry through the Council of Governors, which was represented by Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa.
“We, in the Kenya Devolution Support Programme, have over Sh4 billion which will be released and we are urging counties to prioritise use of these monies for Covid-19 support,” he said.
Mr Wamalwa noted that the fight against Covid-19 was facing challenges of floods, which has so far killed 116 people and displaced 100,000 households in 29 counties.
He said the government has 40,000 bags of rice among other food stuffs and which will be distributed to the affected families.
“But even as we support them, we want to be cautious so that they heed the Ministry of Health guidelines,” he said.