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Kiambu Residents Want Free Masks

Residents of Kikuyu, Lari, Kiambaa, Limuru, Kabete and Githunguri in Kiambu County want the Government to supply them with free masks and sanitizers to contain the spread of Covid-19 in the area.


Residents told KNA during a weeklong sensitization of Covid-19 pandemic that they could not afford masks and sanitizers due to the adverse economic impact of the disease on their livelihoods.


A group of youths operating a car wash center in Gitaru lamented that the slump in business had forced them to make hard choices. Joseph Mathenge noted “If you have only ten shillings in your pocket and you are hungry, will you buy food or a mask,” he posed.


They argue that they were not on a mission to break the set Covid-19 protocols, their situation just does not allow them to protect themselves. “If you give us the masks, we will do the sensitization ourselves, for free,” one of the operators offered.

A mechanic goes on with his work with his mask on his chin

The youth told the Sensitization team traversing Kiambu that the team should be carrying masks and sanitizers with them as they traverse the County in their sensitization drives. They said that the free supplies will have a big impact.


Senior citizens interviewed were also reading from the same script with majority saying the hard economic times could not let them spend a coin for the mask. “We sometimes lack even ten shillings to buy ourselves masks and are compelled to stay indoors for fear of contracting the virus, ”Johana Mwangi from Ngarariga ward in Limuru noted while pleading with the government to produce free masks for the people if she intended to reduce the number of fresh infections.


Several other people within trading centres also face a similar situation. During the one week sensitization exercise conducted from Monday 20th June by the Ministry Of ICT around various parts of Kiambu made startling revelations.

Kiambu KNA team during the sensitization of Covid-19 at Ngarariga in Limuru .The people want the government to be supplying free masks that they can use to protect themselves from the virus Photographer Lydia Shiloya

In the busy centres, markets and towns, almost half of the people did not have their masks on while the majority wore them under their chins.


A spot check on several establishments such as market stalls and shops showed that operators were not setting up hand washing points and provisions for checking temperature which is a requirement by the Ministry of Health.


Matatu operators did not make provisions for sanitizing and checking peoples’ temperatures before boarding the vehicles and there is need for the enforcement agencies to enforce the requirement.


“Give us masks and sanitizers,” a matatu driver at Wangige was seen shouting towards the team sensitizing locals from his car seat. “We cannot help in the fight if we are not well equipped,” one of the locals shouted. The situation was similar in other areas such as Kikuyu, Karuri and Kanunga where the sensitization drive was taking place.


By Lydia Shiloya and  Duncan Mutwiri

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