Traders have urged the County Government of Nakuru to install permanent hand washing stations with clean drinking water in trading centers along the busy Nakuru-Kisumu-Eldoret highway as a measure to stop the spread of Covid-19.
Mary Wanjiru, a fruits and vegetable trader at Mau Summit within Njoro Sub-County noted that most of the trading centers and popular stopovers on the route face a myriad of challenges including water shortage and poor sanitation.
Speaking to Kenya News Agency during second national Covid-19 community sensitization programme Ms Wanjiru expressed concern that most of the few hand washing centers that were set up by the County government through Public-Private partnerships had broken down.
“It is risky for roadside trading centers to operate without proper sanitation facilities at a time when we are talking of new Covid-19 variants finding their way into the country.
A big chunk of our clients are commuters bound for Western Kenya and neighbouring country, a situation that doubles our risk of being infected with Covid-19,” observed Wanjiru.
The week-long community sensitization programme is organized by the Ministry of Information, Communication, Technology, Innovation and Youth Affairs, the office of the government spokesman and the Ministry of Interior.
She urged Kenyans to continue observing protocols put in place to check the spread of the pandemic such as social distancing, wearing face masks, washing and sanitizing hands.
At Kamara Trading Center Amos Gitau who sells carrots called on the county government to repair existing public toilets and repossess those that have been grabbed by private developers.
If returned to their intended use Mr Gitau said, they will serve as sanitation centers hence reduce the risk of further spreading Covid-19.
Establishment of the facilities, he added, was a priority at a time when Kenya, like the rest of the world was fighting the pandemic.
“Hand washing plays a central role in curtailing the spread of the virus and everyone must exercise individual responsibility to protect themselves and others,” Mr Gitau pointed out.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has advised that washing hands with soap and running water is one of the most effective ways of infection control.
Miriam Gachanja who sells roasted maize at Kibunja petitioned the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KBS) and the Anti Counterfeit Authority to probe the quality of masks flooding the Country.
“The high demand of masks has prompted unscrupulous businessmen who want to make a quick kill to sell fake masks putting clueless Kenyans at risk.
Face masks just like other essential commodities are now a daily necessity and have become our new normal. Investigative and quality assurance agencies should take charge while the relevant arms should regulate manufacturer,” she suggested.
At total junction Timothy Bosire, who trades in peas, charged that Public Service Vehicle operators were the weakest link in the fight against Covid-19.
“They no longer sanitize their passengers and are notorious for flouting Ministry of Health protocols aimed at curbing spread of covid-19.
These awareness campaigns will have a greater impact if all of us take personal responsibility and protect ourselves. I advise citizens not to board overloaded vehicles for their own safety,” added Bosire.
By Emily Kadzo