By Peter Amunga.
Yesterday, a Kenyan collapsed and died in a matatu in Nairobi. Unknown to many, such cases are happening daily in our homes, villages, schools, hospitals, churches etc. Anytime we report an infection or fatality, the family members come out to deny. Truth is Kenyans know that covid exists. But they would rather die in silence than talk about it. They would rather burry their dead ones without the drama from county governments They know, their government will not help. So why should they shout about their covid 19 status, when they know that all the health minister Mutahi Kagwe will do; is to use them as a statistics to cajole and threaten the rest of Kenya, and possibly get extra loans and grants from donors.
These factors are the lead causes why giving correct data on corona pandemic is impossible in Kenya.
- Kenyans don’t take it kindly if you claim they have covid. Such a claim can mean they be told to stay away from work They feel it can lead to job loses, isolation, bankruptcy etc. I see this with colleague teachers. We rarely go to hospital. We just survive hoping God will take care.
- The second trouble is testing. The government has lost the capacity to test just anybody. And rightly so, private testing costs upwards of 6000. Very few of us can cough out such money for just testing. They would rather be sick and treat themselves without any testing. If govt was to go testing learners and teachers in schools.. I can bet schools will be closed the same day. Covid 19 is rampant in the communities, but due to lack of testing, watu wanaishi tu.
- Admitting a covid 19 patient in Kenya is an uphill task.. Most public facilities are full. Most private ones are full, and the ones not full have come up with extra charges due to use of oxygen and PPEs. Since NHIF and insurances stopped catering for the hospital costs, some hospitals are demanding an undertaking in terms of a hefty deposit. This is completely understandable, given they have to cater for costs of oxygen and PPEs, and most of them are disposable after one use. This fact alone ensures that Kenyans are dying from home, in matatus, in schools due to covid or going to hospital when it is too late.
4.Kenyans live in dwellings where isolation is simply impossible. The MOH has guidelines on home isolation are practicability impossible because of high levels of poverty and what Michael once referred to as the peculiar habits only practiced by Kenyans. We practice African socialism of staying together, eating on one plate, sleeping in congested rooms. We drink in crowded bars. We love political rallies. Isolation is NOT for Kenyans.
Fellow Kenyans. We are on our own when it comes to the corona pandemic. Forget our government. Let us focus on ourselves our friends and relatives. Support one another. Protect yourself as much as possible. Avoid gatherings. Political functions of BBI signatures are going to happen near you. Keep off. CORRECTLY wear masks, and sanitize at every opportunity.