BIG RISK TAKERS

Why men have been worst hit by Covid-19 pandemic

Men are more likely to engage in risky behaviours such as locking themselves in entertainment joints.

In Summary

•Consumption of alcohol and tobacco are risk factors for comorbidities such as hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

•Covid-19 being a respiratory disease that attacks the lungs finds men already vulnerable hence are likely to get easily infected and suffer from severe disease.

Ag Health DG Dr Patrick Amoth, Head of UHC Secretariat Dr Rebecca Kiptui and Head Directorate of Health Standards Dr Simon Kibias during a media breakfast meeting at a Nairobi Hotel on September 9, 2021
Ag Health DG Dr Patrick Amoth, Head of UHC Secretariat Dr Rebecca Kiptui and Head Directorate of Health Standards Dr Simon Kibias during a media breakfast meeting at a Nairobi Hotel on September 9, 2021
Image: MAGDALINE SAYA

Drinking alcohol, smoking and other risky behaviours such as interaction in crowded places place men at a higher risk of Covid infection compared to women.

Acting director general of Health Dr Patrick Amoth argues that men are more likely to engage in risky behaviours such as locking themselves in entertainment joints long past curfew hours. This exposes them to not only crowded environments but also poor circulation of air, which is a catalyst for spreading the virus.

Data from the Health ministry shows that as of September 9, 140,513 men had been infected with the virus representing 58 per cent, against 42 per cent among women who account for 101,263 of the total confirmed cases.

“More studies need to be done to be able to unpack why men are more predisposed, but of course there are postulates that are in circulation including the risk factors for men,” the DG says.

“Naturally, men are big risk-takers. Even during the curfew, you will find men locked up in a small room drinking after the curfew hours, the door is closed, the windows are closed, a good recipe for transmission of the disease,” he adds.

Consumption of alcohol and tobacco are risk factors for comorbidities such as hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

Covid-19, being a respiratory disease that attacks the lungs, finds men already vulnerable hence are likely to get easily infected and suffer from severe disease.

In terms of fatalities, 1,748 deaths had been recorded among men aged above 60 years compared to 909 in females in the same age bracket. The age bracket also accounts for the highest Covid deaths since the pandemic struck.

The deaths in the population aged between 50 to 59 years stood at 625 men and 280 women, while it was 393 men and 210 women aged between 40 to 49 years and 203 men and 174 women aged between 30 to 39 years.

“Then there are the genetic things including the receptors which men tend to have more disproportionately compared to females and therefore making easier for the virus to bind the receptors in males than females, but of course we need to do more studies on that to be able to understand the reasons further,” he says.

Tobacco users have a higher risk of being infected with the virus through the mouth while smoking cigarettes or using other tobacco products.

If smokers contract the Covid-19 virus, they face a greater risk of getting a severe infection as their lung health is already compromised.

There is also a tendency for men to share cigarette sticks hence likely to pass the virus from one individual to another.

“Both sellers and buyers who handle single sticks handle money too. There are high chances of contaminating the cigarettes,” Tobacco Control Alliance chairperson Joel Gitali says.