RISK FACTORS

Why Central has high Covid-19 disease burden

Region identified as having the biggest burden of aging population and those with chronic illnesses

In Summary
  • •Elderly population comprises of people who tend to have co-morbidities including diabetes, heart problems, hypertension, and kidney problem.
  • •The high disease burden in the region according to the DG has also been fuelled by the now dominant Delta variant.
Acting Health director general Patrick Amoth.
MU VARIANT: Acting Health director general Patrick Amoth.
Image: MAGDALINE SAYA

Central has been identified as having the biggest burden of aging population and those with chronic illnesses, exposing the region to Covid-19 susceptibility.

Acting director general of Health Dr Patrick Amoth says the elderly population comprises of people who tend to have co-morbidities including diabetes, heart problems, hypertension, and kidney problem and therefore are at more risk of getting severe disease and increased risk of death.

Data from the Health ministry shows that in the epidemiological week that run between August 30 and September 5, Kiambu recorded 420 cases, Murang’a had 207 while Nyeri had 143 new infections.

Others that recorded relatively high cases within the seven days included Nairobi which had recorded the highest number of cases at 1,506, Nakuru with 347, Uasin Gishu with 239, Kajiado with 157, Laikipia with 147 and Mombasa with 127.

“This was the epi-week and you can see the burden of disease in the former Central province counties. You can see Kiambu featuring there prominently, we also have Nyandarua, Nyeri, and surprisingly Laikipia features in that,” Amoth said.

“Central province,  in terms of demographic profile, has a relatively  huge population of elderly people who tend to have comorbidities especially diabetes and hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases which are risk factors for severe Covid-19 disease and a risk for mortality,” he added.

A study conducted in 2016 and published in the National Library of Medicine found that Nyeri county had one of the highest diabetes prevalence in Kenya at 12.6 per cent, compared to the country's prevalence of 5.6 per cent.

The high disease burden in the region according to the DG has also been fuelled by the now dominant Delta variant that accounts for more than 90 per cent of the infections including at the local levels.

Nairobi’s attack rate has continued to be high at almost four and a half times the national rate 2,245 per 100,000, majorly due to the fact that the county play host to a large population

The national attack rate stands at 508 per 100,000 population.

“You have seen in the recent press releases, Central province featuring heavily in this fourth wave driven by the delta variant. The one of Mombasa is almost two and a half times the national attack rate but has been a bit stable which is encouraging. However, Nairobi has been changing  and is usually on an upward trajectory,” the DG said.

Recent data from the ministry has also shown that Kirinyaga county leads in the number of obese and overweight women at 54.4 per cent, followed by Nyeri at 49.2 per cent, Mombasa at 48.2 per cent, Murang’a at 47.3 per cent and Kiambu at 45.7 per cent.

The appeal is that Kenyans in the vulnerable groups come out and take their Covid-19 vaccine so as to cushion them from severe disease.

“The disease is still here with us and if they have those risk factors, we have a significant amount of vaccines available, please reach out to your nearest designated vaccination facility for vaccination so that you are protected not forgetting the need to adhere to other public health social measures.”

-Edited by SKanyara