REPUBLIC OF KENYA

Govt sets aside a special isolation and treatment facility for healthcare workers Nairobi, Monday April 20, 2020

Kenya has joined the world to adopt the mantra of test-isolate-treat and trace in the fight against coronavirus.

The announcement was made by the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Mutahi  Kagwe who explained that defeating coronavirus will require agile execution of testing and prompt management of confirmed cases.

The CS who was accompanied by the CAS Dr. Mercy Mwangangi and Principal Secretary Susan Mochache among other senior officers made the at remarks Kenyatta National Hospital ( KNH) today when he launched a special designated isolation and treatment facility for healthcare workers,.

The facility which, is a product of collaboration between the MoH, the Rockefeller Foundation and AMREF will offer both critical care and basic care services to healthcare workers at the Government cost.. He disclosed that the success  of treatment will highly dependent on the ability to protect the frontline healthcare workers and heroes in this fight.

 The government he added will  distributed 4,759 complete Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) kits and 237,047 assorted components (Goggles, surgical masks, N95 masks, gloves, gowns, rubber boots, shoe covers etc) to health workers.

The CS also announced that the Pharmacy and Poisons Board is are now accelerating regulatory decisions regarding approval of COVID-19 test kits. “The Board is implementing stringent, expedited accreditation mechanism, which has shrunk the process from three months to 48 hours,”he said .

Using this approach,  the CS added that the Board has authorized the employment of four test kits for detecting the virus,  namely COBAS SAR-COVID-2 TEST KIT by Roche Diagnostics, Xpert Xpress SARS-CoV-2- by Cepheid, Biofire Covid-19 Test by Biofire Defence LLC and Abbott by Abbot Molecular Inc which are currently being used.

With this approach the CS said the country’s capacity for testing will be expanded from the current 10 to cover at least one laboratory in each county and this is expected to take place in the next two weeks.

“The current phase of Covid 19 involves deployment of targeted testing with a focus on frontline healthcare workers, identified hotspot clusters in Nairobi and  Mombasa as well as enhancing community-based surveillance and screening of truck transit drivers,” he noted.

With regard to isolation and quarantine,  the CS said that the country has 33 active quarantines, and a good number of sites have been closed. Currently, there are 483 individuals in the various centres across the country. “We have also quarantined 455 other persons for defying the national curfew regulations and this will be at their own cost ,” the CS said. 

The CS also revealed that the government, has trained 30,000 healthcare workers. The training that is still ongoing  is targeting to re-sensitize 100,000 more in the next few weeks. So far, 1000 Police Officers, have also been trained, particularly those manning roadblocks, 1000 National Youth Service (NYS) officers, 300 Prison Officers, and 53,000 Community Health Volunteers, using an online based module by Red Cross, AMREF and MoH.

“I appeal to  National and County health facilities to settle any debts owed to oxygen suppliers and I am urging those who are holding  oxygen cylinders to  make plans to return them to suppliers, so that they can have them filled up.  I am aware we also have a number of Oxygen plants of our own. Facilities with such plants should make haste and repair what is not functional, but also do a quick cost-benefit analysis to ensure we get value for money,” he said

Meanwhile, the CS announced that 11 more persons have tested positive for Coronavirus disease, bringing to 281 the total number of confirmed cases in the country, 5 females and 6 males. Seven are Kenyans from Bondeni Old Town in Mombasa County and four are foreign nationals from Ruaka, Nairobi. None have a recent history of travel.

Seven of those tested positive were in quarantine centers and 4 were picked up by surveillance teams from various parts of the country all aged between 11 and 80 years. The CS also confirmed that 2 more  patients have recovered and discharged bringing the total of recoveries to  69  while the number of deaths remain at 14.

So far a total of 2,778 contacts have been monitored, out of which 2,102 have been discharged. 676 contacts are being followed at the moment. A total of 13,872 samples have been tested so far.

The CS also appealed to the people in the counties of Machakos, Kajiado, Kiambu and Murang’a to guard against the spread of coronavirus from Nairobi county. “Already, a number of your residents have contracted the virus, and we have isolated them for treatment. In Machakos for instance, we have 7 cases; Syokimau (2) and one (1) each in Athi River, Kamulu, Rubi Garden Estate, Kithunguni and Viraji,” he said.

In Kiambu, we have a case in; Githurai, Githurai 45, Ndongoru, Thindigua, Tinganga, Waithaka and Wataalam. Kajiado too, we have cases in Kitengela, Matasia and Ongata Rongai estates while in Murang’a, we have  two cases in Gatanga and Lumumba Drive. All these cases are being treated in various hospitals hoping that they will be the last of the cases in the said  Counties.