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Drug users are at high risk of contracting Covid 19

People Who Use Drugs (PWUD), are particularly at high risk of contracting the  Covid 19 disease , health Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Dr. Rashid Aman has said.

Behaviors associated with the use of drugs, may increase their vulnerability to the disease, reduce immunity and disorder associated with physical and psychological comorbidity

Giving an update  on the  Covid 19 situation in the country, Dr. Rashid noted that poor discipline and personal hygiene can predispose the PWUD to  the virus, due to reduced adherence to containment measures.

“The Ministry is working  to ensure there is  continued access to care for persons who use drugs and also capacity building on infection prevention, control, and sensitization on COVID-19, to relevant agencies that provide treatment and rehabilitation services.

Dr. Rashid noted that during this period of Covid situation and children being at home, there is need for parents to educate them about the harmful effects of alcohol and drugs use, and to discourage them from getting into drugs due to idleness.

The Ministry,  he added together with other partners, is implementing the Kenya Mental Health Policy 2015-2030, with focus on substance use management, development and dissemination of information on substance use and disorder treatment protocols.

Other elements of the policy include training of healthcare workers, service providers, Non-Governmental Organizations, community based organizations and the private sector on the prevention of substance use.

Today, is the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking and this year’s theme is ‘Better knowledge for better care.’

A  study conducted by NACADA, on the status of Drugs and Substance Abuse in Kenya, in 2017 shows that the prevalence of the current usage of alcohol among those aged between 15 to 65 years, stands at 12.2 percent , for tobacco at 8.3 percent , Khat 4.1 percent , while for bhang/Marijuana, is 1percent.

 The prevalence of heroin use disorder is less than 1 percent , but the health social impact is as high at 70 percent while the  current data indicate that the prevalence of multiple drugs of abuse is 6 percent .

Turning to Covid 10 statistics, the CAS said that today 149 positive cases of Covid 19  tested positive after testing  3,090 samples in the last 24 hours.

This brings the total number of cases to 5,533 and cumulatively the country has tested 158,404 tests.

Dr. Rashid Aman said  today  48 patients have also been discharged  bringing the total  number of patients who have recovered to 1,095

Unfortunately the CAS said that today the country lost five more patients who succumbed to the disease bringing the total number  to 137.

Of the 149 cases, 148 are Kenyans while one is a foreign national with 94 of those tested being male and 55 female with the ages ranging from a one year old infant and  the oldest is 76.

In terms of County distribution, Nairobi is leading with (73) cases, followed by Mombasa with (20), Kajiado (15), Siaya (13), Busia (9), Kiambu (8), Taita Taveta (3), Machakos (3), Kilifi, Nakuru, Nandi, Bungoma and Isiolo, have one (1) case each.

The cases are distributed in sub counties with  Nairobi’s 20 cases are in Kibra (17), Langata (12), Dagoretti North (10), Westlands (7), Embakasi West, (5), Embakasi North (5), Roysambu (4), Ruaraka, Makadara, Embakasi South, Kamukunji and Kasarani have (2) cases each, while Embakasi Central, Starehe and Mathare have one (1) case each.

 In Mombasa, the cases are in Mvita (9), Nyali (6), Changamwe (3), Kisauni and Jomvu one (1) case each. In Kajiado, the cases are in Kajiado East (7), Kajiado Central (6) and Loitokitok (2).

In Siaya, all the (13) cases are in Bondo, while in Busia, the (9) cases are in Teso South.  In Kiambu, the cases are in Kiambaa (3), Kikuyu (2), Kabete (2), and Kiambu Town (1).

            In Taita Taveta, all the three (3) cases are in Taveta, while the three (3) cases in Machakos are in Athi River.

The case in Kilifi is in Kaloleni, while the one in Nakuru is in Nakuru East, the one in Bungoma is in Webuye, and the case in Isiolo is in Isiolo town.

Public health Director, Dr. Francis Kuria said   that out of the 609 patients in hospital today, 18 of them  are in Intensive care Unit.

He noted that four (4) are in Kenyatta  university  referral hospital ,  three (3) in Nairobi hospital , two (2)  in Aga Khan,  four (4)  in MP Shah,  another four (4) in Kenyatta National Hospital ( KNH) and One (1) in Mombasa hospital.

“These are fairly sick patients and the numbers are high those requiring critical care and the more reason  for counties to get more critical care beds as the disease progression gets in”, Dr. Kuria said

Counties that have achieved capacity of 300 beds, Dr. Kuria said is progressing well and more counties are even surpassing the 300 beds such as Mombasa.

He noted that even as they continue to monitor this the preparation goes beyond bed capacity and  the government is increasing  the capacity to respond to the pandemic in terms of surveillance, contact tracing and response alerts  that the counties will getTraining Dr. Kuria   said is being cascaded too on the same and more so as the county moves in the home based care.

By Wangari Ndirangu

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