Although Covid-19 was first reported in China in December of 2019, it wasn’t until 12th March 2020 when the first case was reported in Kenya. Until this time, we had all somehow thought, and hoped that it was a disease of the Chinese or the West at worst. So it was scary and surprising to learn that the melanin we had hoped would be protective was not protective after all! It is a disease that had shaken bigger economies and claimed lives in countries with seemingly organized, well-funded and equipped health care compared to that of our country. So the fear after this one positive case was understandable.
Covid-19 is an acute respiratory illness in humans caused by Corona virus.
Transmission of the disease is by:
- Respiratory droplets
- Contact with respiratory secretions and saliva
- Aerosol particles
Since spread appears to happen from person to person, here are the precautions one must take to reduce or minimize the spread
To reduce spread during coughing, sneezing or talking stay at least one metre or six feet away from each other.
In trying to implement social distance, the government implemented some of the following measures, most of which are still in place, a few have been modified over time;
- Learning institutions were closed and online classes were
- Social and religious gatherings were banned. For the first time in history, the doors to churches, mosques and bars were closed
The conduct of funerals was also changed significantly; overnight wakes were banned, and the number of people allowed per funeral was also reduced.
Funerals for people who had died of Covid-19 had to be conducted following a set of rules as per the ministry of health guidelines.
- For the first time in history, public service vehicles would carry at less than full capacity. Up to date, there has to be an empty seat in between two passengers.
It became compulsory to wear masks when out in the public.
Masks are believed to reduce transmission from person to person by trapping particles that are produced during talking, sneezing, or coughing.
Though initially there was a severe shortage of surgical and N95 masks. They are now available and at a less than prohibitive cost.
How to wear your mask:
- Clean your hands before you put it on, after taking it off and anytime you touch it
- Cover the nose, mouth and chin
- When you take off the surgical mask, dispose of in the bin immediately, clothe masks should be cleaned
- Don’t wear masks with valves
- Clean hands with soap and water or Alcohol-based hand rubs.
Through government institutions, non-government organizations and private businesses, hand washing points have been set up and strategically distributed throughout the country in major towns, outside government offices, hospitals, schools, churches, markets, et cetera.
- Cough hygiene.
Cover nose with elbow or handkerchief when sneezing or coughing. Through health campaigns and advertisements, everyone is slowly learning the right practice.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces
The first Covid-19 case in Kenya was first reported in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital. The spread was initially high in Nairobi, then followed by Mombasa, Kilifi and Kwale counties. To contain spread to other counties, the government initially announced a cessation of movement into and out of these regions on April 6 ,2020.
Quarantine is a restriction of movement of people, intended to prevent the spread of disease. Its use is intended to restrict people who may have been in contact with people from moving into healthy populations and further spreading the disease.
Separation of ill persons with a contagious disease (Covid-19), from people who are not.
Early in the outbreak and with confirmation of the first cases in the country, all sick persons were admitted into isolation wards in the hospitals. But as the number of cases has increased rendering our facilities overwhelmed, so many people especially those with mild disease are isolating themselves at home.
Home isolation is encouraged for mild disease. However, in case of worsening symptoms, a patient should check into a health facility.
Dawn to dusk curfew was put in place to reduce movement of people to help with containing people in one place
Also ensured social places like clubs and pubs remained closed hence reducing crowding and hence transmissions.