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Corona Virus Screening Starts at Lodwar Airport

Turkana County has started screening of passengers traveling by air at the county’s airport and airstrips.

The screening sites are based at Lokichoggio, the only International airport in the county and the three airstrips in Kakuma, Kapese in Lokichar and Lodwar where disease surveillance officers have mounted screening sites.

“In the last two days, all arrivals adding up to 186 people were subjected to screening. In addition, temporary isolation tent has been set up at the Lodwar Airstrip for the management of any person exhibiting Corona like symptoms,” County executive committee member for health Jane Ajele said.

The county has also issued a circular to all health care workers serving at facility level to observe strict adherence to Infections Prevention Control (IPC) guidelines as required by the medical profession.

Passengers being screened at Lodwar airstrip before boarding flights

Ajele added that the county has directed all facility in charges to sensitize the public on Corona Virus at the facility and community level during health dialogue meetings.

She added, “Like any other condition, confirmation of COVID 2019 is pretty much a laboratory diagnostic affair. In this regard, the county has forged a working relationship with Public Health Laboratory for coordinated lab based diagnosis and response.”

She added that proper isolation units have also been established in designated health facilities across the county to help in management of emerging cases.

On 30th December 2019, the Director-General of World Health Organization (WHO) issued a statement that declared Corona Virus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). As such, it is formally defined as an “extraordinary event” that constitute a public health risk to other states through the international spread of disease and a condition that potentially require coordinated international response.

President Uhuru Kenyatta through a presidential executive order No. 2 of 2020 established a National Emergency Response Committee under the chairmanship of Cabinet Secretary for Health to review the situation and report on what needs to be done to enhance prevention.

After the first meeting, the Mutahi Kagwe led National Emergency Response Committee proposed the need of enhanced surveillance activities across all ports of entry and issued a directive to division of port Health to execute the same by screening all visitors entering the country through ports and/or land crossing points.

 

In addition to screening, the Committee went ahead to support the preparation and release of a readiness and early response plan (2020) with interventions to be undertaken by various players including the Ministries of Health in  County Governments across the 47 Counties.

 

By Peter Gitonga

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