Members of County Assembly in Kisii County have been urged to come up with workable solutions of home based care for covid-19 patients in the local Multigenerational households in a bid to cushion the vulnerable groups from being infected by the fast spreading Corona Virus.
The Multigenerational households mean households with more than two generations, as is the case with many rural homes in Kisii County.
Addressing a cross section of MCAs at the County Headquarters during a meeting to incorporate MCAs in the fight against spread of Coronavirus, Regional Population Coordinator, Rose Wakuloba appealed to the elected and nominated leaders to reach out to their electorate with necessary support during the pandemic period.
Wakuloba said proper measures need to be put in place for Kisii households where young generation live with their elderly population and interact on a daily basis, with more than two people sleeping in one room at one particular night.
“Over 30 per cent of Kisii households are multigenerational with at least two people sleeping in one room every night,” she said.
She appealed to the leaders to reach out to the electorate with information on proper methods of staying safe, including wearing of face masks, washing hands and social distancing among others.
The meeting noted that the youth who go to make a living outside the home could pose danger to the elderly population who are more vulnerable.
It was noted that the leaders needed to reach out to the youth, majority of who can easily recover if infected with Coronavirus, with information and preventive gear like face masks and hand sanitizers.
Kisii County has over 3,000 Bodaboda riders who operate within and in the neghbouring counties, posing danger of importing and exporting the virus to the remotest parts of the county.
MCAs agreed to come up with ways of ending stigma associated with Covid-19, saying the post covid-19 patients were not freely accepted in their neighborhoods after full recovery.
The Masige Ward MCA, David Bwana decried the stigma attached to the disease, saying a family that was taken for quarantine had all their chicken eaten by dogs as their home was left unattended for the 14 days they were away.
“The family was later not able to go to the posho mill to sift maize or the seek menial jobs to eke a living,” he said.
Bwana noted they needed to come up with innovative ways of handling the multigenerational factor to make the health protocols work for the community.
Explaining why the country is not affected like the western world, the County Public Health Director (CPHD), Dr. Richard Onkware cited 75 per cent of Kenya population is below the age of 45 years which could be majorly asymptomatic to the infection, and lower cases of communicable disease compared to their western countries which made their population more vulnerable.
Dr. Onkware however, underscored the need to be vigilant to prevent the spread of the virus through community transmission saying the disease could easily overwhelm the vulnerable population if left uncontained.
He said Kisii was still experiencing stage one of the coronavirus infection where Isolation and quarantine facilities for positive and contacts of those infected were most important phenomenon of the pandemic.
The CPHD noted Eastleigh and Mombasa old town were placed under lockdown because they had reached phase three where contact tracing might not be of much assistance because the virus was wide spread in the community.
He however, applauded the people of Bobasi community for being alert and reporting all travelers who had sneaked into the area and who after testing had turned positive.
Dr. Onkware said Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital was equipped with 10 Intensive care Unit beds mounted with ventilator machines while 10 more would be delivered soon to cater for patients that could need them in case of a surge.
Dr. Onkware appealed to the leaders to prevail upon managers of local tea buying centres, bodaboda parking areas and drinking dens to observe guidelines saying health protocols were not being followed seriously.
The Vice Chairperson of Gender Welfare, Beatrice Kayaga appealed to the government to widen the support given to vulnerable groups during the pandemic to cushion the unemployed youth who have reverted to crime, drugs and illicit sex leading to teenage pregnancies.
Others present were,the County Assembly Speaker, David Kombo and the Deputy Leader of Minority, Josphine Ombati among others.
By Jane Naitore