Data from the Ministry of Health indicates that, as of Saturday, April 18, there were 262 confirmed cases of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) in Kenya.
With different approaches taken to combat the virus in the devolved units, there has been a marked increase in the cases at the county level.
While Nairobi has the lion's share of confirmed cases at 73%, the threat of the virus remains real in Kenya's other 46 counties, with contact tracing ongoing to find those who came into contact with infected individuals.
Mandera, for instance, where 32 people escaped from a quarantine facility on Monday, January 13, now has 6 cases of Covid-19 and falls only behind Nairobi, Mombasa and Kilifi.Mandera Governor Ali Roba (centre) and members of the county's medical team are pictured at the Mandera County Referral Hospital on April 1, 2020.Daily Nation
So far, Nairobi has recorded 193 cases, Mombasa 43, Kilifi 8, Mandera 6, Nakuru 2, Kajiado 2, Kitui 2, Siaya 2, Uasin Gishu 1, Kakamega 1, Homa Bay 1, and Kwale 1.
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe had also revealed the distribution of Covid-19 cases across residential estates in Nairobi on Saturday, April 18 as he implored Kenyans to open their eyes to the reality that the virus may be closer than they think.
“We have also mapped the cases and zeroed down to the areas of origin. In Nairobi for instance, we have noticed that the cases are spread between almost all estates with Kilimani having six cases, Pipeline five, Karen four, South C four, Kawangware three, Tassia two, Utawala four, Kitisuru two, Parklands two, Buru Buru two and Kibra two.
“Almost every other city estate has reported at least one case- Donholm, Eastleigh, Hurlingham, Lavington, Runda, Ngara, Madaraka, Kasarani - and many more. I want to plead with all of us to take the measures we have announced more seriously,” he stated.
He reiterated the need for both levels of the government to work in tandem to curb the spread of the virus, with the Council of Governors now playing a key role in acting as a link between the national government and devolved units.
"Through the Council of Governors, we are working with all other counties to ensure that, together with us, they are able to detect, isolate and treat cases that may be reported within their jurisdictions,” Kagwe stated at a press briefing.
In a worrying submission to the Senate ad-hoc committee on Covid-19 chaired by Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja on Tuesday, April 14, the CoG led by Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya had admitted that the counties were unprepared for the pandemic.
They demanded that the government work to correct various logistical challenges facing the counties, failure to which they would lack the capacity to effectively combat the virus in their jurisdictions.
Oparanya noted that only two institutions at the national level; Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) and the National Influenza Centre were accredited to test for Covid-19, and had under-equipped corresponding branches.
“Most counties have active cases and accreditation to operationalise regional laboratories has not been done and they do not have sample collection kits.
"These two laboratories and their branches do not have adequate testing kits," he noted.
The CoG further called for the government to provide county health workers with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as a bidding war between counties and the national government had made it difficult for the counties to access the equipment.
“County governments who have tried to purchase the kits have failed due to competition between the national and county governments.
"This has exposed the county health workers,” the CoG observed, further noting that the price of the available kits was too high.
On Thursday, April 16, however, governors announced the establishment of a Ksh5 billion County Governments Emergency Fund to help counties deal with the virus.
The fund is expected to help counties acquire medical supplies and protective equipment for health workers and citizens.
"Through the supplementary budget, county governments have committed approximately Ksh5 billion to the county government emergency fund to respond to Covid019 and most governments have put this in their supplementary budgets," Oparanya stated while explaining the creation of the fund.Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya addressing the media on March 16, 2020.
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