Effects of Covid-19 a year after the first case was reported in Kenya

By Mourice Seretta

On March 13, 2020, the government confirmed the first case of coronavirus (COVID-19) sending shock waves among its citizens, young and old.

The deadly virus has so far claimed the lives of more than 1,900 people in the country both unknown and prominent personalities altogether as it does not spare anyone, respects no race, religion, age and status. It attacks all without discrimination.

Prominent personalities that the virus has claimed are former Cooperatives Minister Joe Nyagah who died at the age of 72. Nyaga died while receiving treatment at the Nairobi Hospital. The other is Nyamira governor John Nyagarama who passed on at the age of 74.

The deadly virus also killed Matungu MP Justus Murunga who succumbed on November 13 2020 after developing breathing complications while being rushed to a local hospital in the region and the other is former Kaloleni MP Gunga Mwinga who lost the fight to the deadly virus.

Other prominent personalities that Covid-19 took are veteran comedian Charles Bukeko popularly known as Papa Shirandula who passed on at the Karen Hospital, Dr Adisa Lugaliki who served as an Obstetrician and Gynecologist at The Nairobi South Hospital, renowned sociologist and lecturer at the University of Nairobi Ken Ouko also died while receiving treatment.

There was uproar when the death of a 28-year-old physician Stephen Mogusu was reported from COVID-19 as the latest example of dangerous and unjust working conditions in government hospitals.

Stephen Mogusu was employed on a temporary contract and was never paid for the five months he worked in a COVID-19 ward at a public hospital in the town of Machakos.

By the close of the year 2020, Kenya had lost 13 doctors to Covid 19 and many more other Kenyans from all walks of life.

The virus has led to massive loss of jobs among the Kenyan population, plundered the economy, derailed education and over and above made lives difficult amongst the population.

A year later, cases have surged yet again amid a new third wave that is fast spreading.

However, there is light at the end of the tunnel after the country received a vaccine to tame the fast spreading virus.

Health Cabinet Secretary Senator Mutahi Kagwe received a consignment of 1.2 million doses of Astrazeneca Covid-19 Vaccines at the JomoKenyatta International Airport.

Present during the ceremony was Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia, Health Principal Secretary Susan Mochache, MOH Director General Dr Patrick Amoth, WHO representative Dr Ruddi Eggers and the UNICEF Country Representative Ms Maniza Zaman  among others. 

“This is a historic day for Kenya, marking an important milestone in our fight against COVID-19. This has been made possible by the leadership of His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta, the hard work of the Ministry of Health, and the cooperation of the Kenyan people over the past 11.5 months. I would like to thank WHO, GAVI and UNICEF for their support in procuring and transporting these life-saving vaccines,” Kagwe said.

CS Kagwe (in red tie) receiving a consignment of 1.2 million doses of Astrazeneca Covid-19 Vaccines at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

Kagwe also received 100,000 Astrazeneca Vaccine consignment from India at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has issued another directives aimed at curbing the spread. They include extension of the night curfew for the next two months, banning political and social gatherings amongst a raft of measures.

He has further asked Kenyans to strictly observe the Ministry of Health laid down Covid-19 containment measures that include wearing of a face mask, social distancing and washing or sanitizing of hands regularly.

But it will be left to be seen whether Kenyans who have been crippled economically, socially and even mentally will adhere to the measures outlined as they struggle to make ends meet amid the pandemic.  

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