CONTROLLING VIRUS SPREAD

Health officials lead fumigation drive in CBD

Health executive Hitan Majevdia cancels leave for all officers, orders them to report to their work stations.

In Summary

• The team that included health officers from the 17 subcounties began the fumigation drive at the General Post Offices along Kenyatta Avenue. 

• Before midday, the team had reached the Kencom bus terminus, the Jobless Corner outside Hilton, Ambassador bus stop and the National Archives area.

A worker sprays chemicals in Nairobi's CBD
PRECAUTION: A worker sprays chemicals in Nairobi's CBD
Image: MAUREEN KINYANJUI

City health officials began fumigating the Central Business District Thursday with a call to the public to observe personal hygiene to prevent the spread of coronavirus. 

Dressed in protective coats and masks, with gloved hands and carrying spray pumps, workers moved from streets to walkways disinfecting surfaces.

The team that included health officers from the 17 subcounties began the fumigation drive at the General Post Offices along Kenyatta Avenue. 

 

Before midday, the team had reached the Kencom bus terminus, the Jobless Corner outside Hilton, Ambassador bus stop and the National Archives area.

On Wednesday the county received 700 litres of chemicals from the Ministry of Health to commence the drive.

Subcounty public health officer for Starehe Charles Kibue said that fumigating the CBD will take at least 14 days.

“A lot of transit occurs in the CBD. Fumigation will be a continuous exercise and once we are done with the CBD we shall proceed to other areas,” Kibue said.

At least 215 public health officers will be engaged to spearhead the operation in the city.

Health executive Hitan Majevdia has cancelled leave for all officers and ordered them to report to their work stations.

Members of the public were caught off guard by the fumigation exercise.

 

Some of them were forced to leave the comfort of the public benches to allow the workers to do their job.

“I was busy listening to music when I saw a man fully covered spraying the seat next to me,” said Victor Mugoya, a student.

 

Street vendors were not spared as they were forced to fold their stalls. 

“I sell sweets here every day and I was not aware that people will be moving around spraying chemicals. I have just moved aside and after spraying I will proceed with my business,” Geoffrey Mburu said.

County deputy director for public health Wilson Langat said the county was targeting areas considered as crowding hot spots.

“We target places where there is a lot of public gathering like Tea Room, Khoja, Nyamakima bus stops. We have mobilised our staff and we intend to have more so that we cover the areas extensively,” he said. 

Langat assured the public that the chemical used is chlorine and it is safe. 

Public observe basic preventative measures

Members of the public were urged to observe basic hygienic practices and preventative measures against coronavirus.

Several washing points, especially at the termini, have already been set up by the public transport sector.

“The public should not fear and panic but continue with their work as long as they strictly observe proper hygiene and preventive measures,” Langat said.

“Wash your hands properly with soap and water. Sanitisers are normally used as an emergency where the soap and water are not readily available,” he said.

PSVs to use approved disinfectants

Langat also emphasised the use of approved disinfectants and sanitisers by the matatu operators.

But commuters have raised concerns over the quality of disinfectants used by matatu operators. 

The public had raised suspicion on the usage of soap and water while others lamented that the disinfectants used had an unpleasant smell.

“We are also pleading with matatu owners to provide the appropriate sanitisers to the passengers before boarding the vehicles,” Langat said.

The PSVs owners and matatu saccos were also urged to wash and disinfect their vehicles several times as pointed by the Ministry of Transport.

“Disinfect inside the matatu, not using soap and water, but the approved disinfectants,” Langat said. 

(edited by o. owino)