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Refugee population and prisoners worst affected by Covid19 in Turkana

Four people have lost their lives to corona virus at the Kakuma Refugee camp in Turkana West since the outbreak of the pandemic in the county, Deputy Governor Peter Lotethiro has said.


Addressing the press on Thursday afternoon at the county headquarters in Lodwar, Lotethiro said the refugee population living at Kakuma Camp and prison inmates at Lodwar GK prison accounts for the largest percentage of persons who have contracted Covid19 in Turkana since the first case was reported.


“The cumulative number of cases had surged to 267 with Turkana West having 208 cases accounting for 77.6% while Turkana central had 57 cases representing 21.3% of the total,” said Lotethiro.


Turkana North and South were listed as having recorded one case each with the three sub-counties of Kibish, Loima and Turkana East not having recorded a case.


On risk factor in respect to gender, males were listed as most at risk as compared to women after it emerged that 166 men representing 62.2% had contracted covid19 as compared to 101 women representing 37.8% of the total. At the same time, the youngest covid19 case was only 3 months old with the oldest case being 67 years old.


While the county had 39 active cases at the moment, recoveries were also increasing at an admirable rate after 224 were reported as having recovered and released to the community.


Lotethiro said the county had processed a total of 3,891 samples from various testing sites in Kisumu, Eldoret and Nairobi over the last six months.


Noting the shortage of testing reagents at the testing hubs and logistical challenges of sample transport, Lotethiro said the County and its partners were in the process of purchasing a PCR machine as well as Gene Expert for local collection and testing of cases.


Lotethiro added that the County Covid19 Fund Board was up and running after its gazettement. So far, the board has started the procurement of covid19 items and set in motion the use of budgets allocated for covid19 response.


At the same time, DG Lotethiro said the County is building and growing a workforce with skills of operating an ICU facility. So far, the first group of six health care workers has successfully completed a four-week training on ICU patient management and service delivery at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital. The next bunch of about six health care workers will also undergo the same training in the next few weeks.


On coordination and partners’ engagement, County Covid-19 Emergency Response Committee (CERT) continues to meet once every week to provide leadership and direction.


At the same time, the County Health Rapid Response Committee (CHHRT) and the sub-county Rapid Response Teams (RRT) also meet on an agenda basis. The coordination meetings are intentionally organized to allow for participation and involvement of all the relevant stakeholders as well as partners.


Lotethiro called upon residents of Turkana to exercise freedoms recently announced by the President with caution since the disease was yet to be eradicated.


DG Lotethiro also said that the security forces in the county were in hot pursuit of the prisoners who escaped from the County Covid-19 treatment centre after successfully completing their treatment.


Given the possibility of schools reopening, DG Lotethiro said that measures had been put in place to fumigate and hand over schools and institutions hitherto used as quarantine facilities.


The press conference was attended by the CEC Jane Ajele (Health Services and Sanitation), Joyce Ilikwel (Ag. Director Health Administration and Support Services), Dr. Esekon Joseph Epem (Director Medical Supplies), John Ngasike (Team lead, Covid19 Treatment Centre in Kanamkemer) among others.


By Peter Gitonga

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