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Inquiries Kenyans make on Covid-19 call centre

Health & Science

Questions around flu vaccine shots and if the SARS-CoV-2 virus is evolving are some of the issues dominating the 719 Ministry of Health helpline for Covid-19.

A situational analysis report from the ministry also lists doctors as frequent callers, mainly to complain that county hotline numbers are not being picked.

Such explains why contact tracing has dropped considering the tasks have been left to counties and sub-counties, which according to the report, have no money.

“Inadequate resources for operations at the sub-national level for Covid-19 surveillance activities is glaring leading to demotivation of staff,” reads the report dated September 29.

The other challenges, according to the report, are a shortage of personal protective equipment and reagents at Covid-19 laboratories.

From the messages, the ministry has noted lack of adherence to laid down protocols by patients under home-based care programme.

“They continue sneaking out to interact with friends,” reads the report.

The report says most of the callers to the 719 national call centre are female (73 per cent). By the date of the report, 22,483 interactive voice responses hits had been recorded.

The USSD code of 719 has also disseminated 69,000 messages.

Other inquiries have centred on symptoms of Covid-19, government regulations on schools, churches, public gatherings, testing period, treatment and home-based care programme.

There were also queries on myths associated with the disease among them if persons who get the flu shot vaccine would automatically test positive for the virus.

Some countries, among them the United Kingdom are advising people to get a flu shot to avoid a twin pandemic as it is the flu season.

Some symptoms of Covid-19 do resemble flu as well. Delay or mix up of results has also been cited as a cause of concern by callers. 

From the report, it also appears Kenyans have no idea where to get tested.

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