An eight-bed isolation ward has been established at the Moyale Level Four Hospital in Marsabit County as part of contingency measures following confirmation by the government of two more cases of Coronavirus infected persons in Kenya.
Health personnel, disease surveillance personnel and community health workers at the grass-roots level were this morning provided with protective gear to deal with any suspected case according to the Moyale Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Ibrahim Lio.
In an interview with KNA on Monday, Dr. Lio said that all the health facilities within the sub-county and health personnel have undergone training on best practices to manage the virus and added they have been assigned to sensitize the masses on how to individually take precautionary measures.
“This time round it’s not business as usual; we are also involving other multi-agencies where our public health officers are on standby; chiefs and their assistants who interact with community members at the grass-root level, are playing a major role in educating the public about the coronavirus in the villages” Dr. Lio added.
Last week, we educated students in 10 primary schools on how to counteract communicable diseases and provided them with soap, sanitisers and gave them water containers,” said the Sub-county Public Health Officer, Racha Tacho.
Tacho said they had also provided all health facilities with soap, water containers and alcohol-based sanitisers as a measure to counter the virus.
The public health officer further said they were also liaising daily with their counterparts across the border in Ethiopia on how to manage the pandemic and other communicable diseases which has also been reported in Addis Ababa.
Dr. Ibrahim said they will also establish a holding unit before the end of the day at the Kenya-Ethiopia common border to facilitate intensive screening tests on the disease.
Kenya confirmed first reported case of the Covid-19 disease on Friday and two more infected persons were confirmed yesterday, Sunday where President Uhuru Kenyatta appealed to citizens not to panic.
The Moyale Deputy County Commissioner (DCC), Patrick Mumali said that Moyale being an entry point, surveillance and security patrols have been enhanced along the common border of Kenya and Ethiopia and added that although Marsbit County was not among 14 counties identified as high risk places, however a combined effort has been initiated by all multi agencies manning all entry points to screen people entering the country to check the spread of the disease.
Mumali has however appealed to the people to maintain high hygiene habits and avoid hugging, handshaking and to frequently keep washing their hands using soap and alcohol based sanitisers before entering any facilities with a high population.
Meanwhile, misinformation and false news regarding the Covid-19 pandemic continue to circulate despite the warning by the government against the habit.
Marsabit County today woke up to distressing news that two cases of coronavirus had been detected in the border town of Moyale and people could be seen discussing in low tones about it in Marsabit town.
Authorities who included the County Director of Health, Dr. Adano Kochi and the Public Health Officer in-charge of the One-Stop-Border-Point at Moyale, Mohammed Nurr refuted the claims terming it as fake news and rumours.
Dr. Kochi assured the residents that the government had taken appropriate measures in the event of an outbreak of the disease and asked the public to be optimistic.
“I would like to appeal to wananchi to be positive by adhering to advisory information being channeled out by the government and to desist from relying on rumours,” urged the director.
He said his office had received the information about the rumours which he dismissed as unfounded.
Nurr said he had to personally visit Moyale sub-county hospital to ascertain the truth after getting the reports from members of the public, which later turned out to be rumours.
“It is true that I have been receiving many telephone calls since this morning from concerned members of the public seeking the truth and we have been able to clarify the matter to them,” he said.
The public health officer cautioned against such habits saying it could result in negative impact in an event of a genuine case hence complicating the fight against coronavirus.
Nurr said that migration restrictions at the border have been heightened since cases of coronavirus were reported in the neighbouring Ethiopia.
Hot on the heels of the above was a communique by Marsabit Governor, Mohamud Ali who directed that thermos scanners be used by public health workers to screen travelers entering the country at all the designated points on the Kenya –Ethiopia border without exception.
Governor Ali explained ten measures that his administration had put in place to handle the situation in case the region was hit by the virus.
Under the coordination of the County commissioner, a health team to oversee response, needs and mass awareness creation across the county has been set up.
The governor added that disease surveillance and active case search which has been going on at the Marsabit County Referral Hospital would be enhanced at all satilite health facilities in the county.
By Gatana Muchira/Sebastian Miriti