POST-COVID-19

Virus pandemic provides key action areas

This crisis should be an eye-opener to us and the country's leadership.

In Summary

• The government must invest in healthcare infrastructure — both hardware and software.

•  Covid-19 has taught us that in today's world, the real soldiers are not the military, but our healthcare professionals.

Covid-19 teaching us our priorities
Covid-19 teaching us our priorities
Image: OZONE

On March 11, the World Health Organisation declared Covid-19 outbreak as a global pandemic. This pandemic is not only a public health emergency; it also poses a major threat to the global economy raising fears of a recession. Not long ago, the International Monetary Fund declared a global economic recession given that the pandemic has shut down many economic activities across the world.

This pandemic must thus teach us valuable lessons and opportunities that our leaders and citizens should tap into post-Covid 19. 

One, the government must invest in healthcare infrastructure — both hardware and software. It’s unfortunate that we have more MPs and MCAs than ICU beds in this country.

Medics are poorly paid and taken fir granted and this has lead to brain drain to look for greener pastures.

Covid-19 has taught us that in today's world, the real soldiers are not the military, but our healthcare professionals. Their salaries and allowances must be enhanced.. The government should also establish mental health programmes in all counties to provide moral and psychosocial support to many who will suffer psychological distress due to job losses and loss of family members and their loved ones. There is need for our government to therefore invest a significant amount of its budget in health.

Two, there is need to invest in the manufacturing sector. In recent weeks, we have seen many enterprising Kenyans rush to meet the growing demand for crucial supplies meant to mitigate the spread of the virus.

Examples include the Kitui County Textile Center, Dedan Kimathi University and Kenyatta University students, as well as polytechnics and individuals making face masks.

These examples demonstrate what Kenya could achieve if there is political goodwill to support this sector. If we succeed in this, we will to a great extent reduce the over-reliance on imports of medical supplies and consumable products.

Parliament must also come with laws to regulate the quantity of mitumba clothing imported and laws to empower institutions such Export Processing Zones (EPZ) to ensure their products are of global standards and most importantly, cost-effective.

Three, Covid-19 offers the government an opportunity to invest in research and development. It needs to inspire a culture of innovation by providing more funding to institutions of higher learning and institutions such as the Kenya Medical Research Institute which has played an important role in the fight against malaria, polio, HIV-Aids and other diseases.

Investing more in research will allow scientists to develop new knowledge, techniques and technologies.

Fourthly is food security. Already, one of the key interventions so far is the distribution of food. Experts had also warned that in case of a lockdown, food would have been the biggest challenge among the people.

 There is thus need for the government to adopt mechanised and modern farming, such as was envisaged in the Galana Kulalu project.

Companies can apply the same model taken by Kakuzi, Del monte and Delamare farms and grow crops throughout the year. This will ensure the country can feed itself and export the surplus.

Lastly, we need to embrace servant leadership. The above four points can only be achieved if there is proper leadership. As we head towards the 2022 General Election, I beseech fellow Kenyans to elect visionary leaders.

Covid-19 should be an eye-opener to us and the country's leadership. Let’s study this pandemic keenly to help us make important future decisions for our country. Life favours the prepared.

Gikima is a researcher and  communication analyst

@GikimaAlex