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Will the 15 percent ‘Working Folk’ Save the World from Coronavirus?

The  Chuka Open Air Market. Photo by KNA.

Going by the comments on social media of the confirmation of a coronavirus cases in Kenya my mind reflected back into a workshop on Nyumba Kumi initiative, way back in 2017.

The main facilitator for the event, said any unit from the village, organizations, nations and the world at large is run by only 15 percent of its inhabitants, while the remaining 85 percent are just like wheelbarrows who cannot move beyond where they are pushed.

Otherwise, how do you explain a case of adults trying to bring their Tangatanga and Kieleweke inclinations into such a  serious global health hazard?

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday, March 11, 2020, declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic.

More than 156,000 people have been infected in more than 80 countries; by March 15 this is by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering of the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

5,800 deaths have been reported globally and over 3,000 of those who died occurred in mainland China. About 73,000 people have recovered so far from the dreaded disease.

Wuhan city in China’s Hubei’s Province was the epicenter of the highly virulent virus. Some countries such as Italy, the worst hit country in Europe, and Denmark have been put on lockdown.

Others have cancelled mass gatherings. The US on Wednesday suspended travel from Europe save for the UK and Ireland.

The serious 15 percent are burning the midnight oil taking all possible measures to contain the global threat while the remaining 85 percent are either completely oblivious of the dangers of the health hazard or are busy cracking ugly jokes of the epidemic on social media.

The worst lot is ‘the know it all’ dimwits who will criticize even precautionary measures given by health experts yet suggest none of their own.

I  overheard some Kenyans in Chuka town asking, what is the relevance of frequently washing hand if the virus is airborne? Whoever told them what is in the air never lands on hands I do not know? Besides, don’t we prevent a lot of diseases by frequently washing hands? Why would any serious person discourage people from frequently washing hands with or without the coronavirus threat? This is among the 85 percent who simply walk to avoid being labeled idlers but have no definite destination.

Then there is this other lot looking for the slightest reason to proclaim the virus is in Kenya. Are they paid for breaking news? Probably, but if not, these are the worst idlers who only imagine anything is ‘James Bond fiction’, even when it is real, unless it has affected their brothers or sisters.

Yes, we heard of the locust invasion when it hit Mandera County, but the majority of us never looked at it as a threat until it hit Tharaka Nithi.

The  Tharaka Nithi Senator, Prof. Kithure Kindiki joined the Tharaka residents in screaming at the top of his voice but many people were and remain busy over Tangatanga and Kieleweke, including many who have crops in their farms, simply because the locusts have not reached their homesteads.

Countries in the developed world are restricting their citizens from their normal daily businesses and here we are blaming the epidemic on Reggae and the like.

Some farmers are busy using all forms of rudimentary means to scare away locusts from their farms while the majority of us are busy blaming the government for not coming up with a solution to the pests’ invasion.

As the late Prof. Wangari Mathai, God rest her soul in peace, kept repeating, “we should do our best when faced with a calamity”. Even if it means only frequently washing hands for petes sake. Not blaming the Health Ministry for not coming up with a solution to coronavirus.

In such times of pending disasters, it is advisable to be proactive. At the national level, the government has refurbished the Mbagathi Hospital in preparation for any eventuality. The Tharaka Nithi County Government has created quarantine centres in three major hospitals as a mitigation measure for any eventuality.

The County Governor, Muthomi Njuki said there is no need for panic but even as the residents continue to frequently wash their hands as advised by the Ministry of Health the County Government has gone a step further to establish the quarantine centres.

“We look forward to a favourable containment of the virus in Nairobi but the County Government has set aside wards to serve as quarantine centres in Chogoria, Marima and the Chuka Referral Hospital for any eventuality,” said the Governor.

Njuki  who was presenting bursary cheques to the three wards in Chuka -Igambang’ombe

Constituency at Chuka Township primary school on Friday further called on parents and teachers within the County to take the initiative of creating awareness among the school going children and the elderly over the need to avoid gatherings, shaking hands and frequently washing their hands.

However, with all this misleading information from the 85 percent who have to be pushed, many of whom cannot move beyond where they are pushed, will the 15 percent working folk save the world from the deadly virus?

By  David Mutwiri

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