DISEASE BURDEN

Laxity blamed for Kenya's rising Covid-19 cases

Kenyans seem to have dropped the ball and abandoned the virus containment measures put in place

In Summary
  • The ICU cases were 47 on Saturday, 49 on Friday and 42 on Thursday
  • Similarly, the number of patients admitted in hospitals on Monday were 333 compared to 328 on Sunday

 

Finished face masks await packaging
Finished face masks await packaging
Image: ANDREW KASUKU

Kenya's Covid-19 disease burden seems to be on an upward trend in what is likely to be as a result of laxity of citizens.

For instance, the cases of patients in the intensive care have been rising. On Monday and Tuesday, 51 patients were admitted in ICU compared to 34 on Monday last week.

The ICU cases were 47 on Saturday, 49 on Friday and 42 on Thursday. Similarly, the number of patients admitted on Monday were 333 in hospitals and 1,281 under the home-based care programme, compared to 328 in hospitals and 1,160 on Sunday.

Kenyans seem to have dropped the ball and abandoned the virus containment measures put in place by the Health ministry.

Wearing of face masks is rarely observed by the majority of Kenyans, with no social distancing being maintained in matatus.

As part of the planning for the vaccines' rollout, the World Health Organization hosted a African health ministers' meeting on February 17.

The WHO said the national deployment and vaccination plans for Covid-19 vaccines from 35 low-income African countries eligible for free vaccines from the Covax facility have been accepted by an independent regional review committee.

 The plans are required for countries to receive vaccines from Covax, the global initiative to ensure fair access to Covid-19 vaccines led by WHO, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).

The WHO called for more work on setting up systems to manage the logistics and supply chain for vaccines, reaching refugees, migrants and internally displaced people and financing national vaccination campaigns.

“Africa is revving up to roll out Covid-19 vaccines. These thorough vaccine preparation plans will help ensure African countries can hit the ground running in quickly immunising the most vulnerable people. Meticulous planning is key to ensuring vaccines reach all priority groups, wherever they are, in every single African country,” said WHO Regional Director for Africa Dr Matshidiso Moeti,

Dr Moeti briefed Health ministers on the region’s overall state of readiness for Africa’s largest-ever immunisation drive, planned vaccines delivery dates and next steps, including documentation required by Covax related to regulatory readiness, indemnity and liability agreements so vaccine manufacturers can schedule shipment dates.

“Covax is open for business. Thanks to secured avenues of supply through manufacturer deals and dose-sharing, clarity on global and regional supply forecasts, additional much-needed funding, and countries’ hard work to ensure readiness – the world now has its clearest pathway yet to ending the acute stage of this pandemic, globally,” said Thabani Maphosa, managing director, country programmes, at GAVI.

The move to roll out Covid-19 vaccines comes as new evidence shows new variants of the virus are spreading across the continent. In all the African countries that have detected the new variants, the pandemic spread faster in the second wave than in the first one.

The South African variant is predominant in South Africa and Zambia and has been detected in a total of nine African nations including Kenya.

The WHO said it strongly recommends countries to use the AstraZeneca vaccine even if the SARS-CoV-2 new variants are present.

“Our priority must be to protect the most vulnerable from severe illness and death. Along with rolling out safe and proven vaccines, we must also work towards a diverse vaccine portfolio. At the same time, manufacturers must be prepared to adjust to mutations of the virus, including potentially providing booster shots and adapted vaccines,” said Dr Moeti.

WHO is helping countries ramp-up sequencing capacities to detect new variants. Since December 2020, there has been a 50 per cent increase in sequences produced by over 30 African countries.

-Edited by Sarah Kanyara