Mombasa Residents Up in Arms Over Govt Testing Plan

  • A medical personnel holding a Covid-19 virus test kit.
    File image of a Covid-19 testing kit.
  • Residents of Miritini in Mombasa County have come out strongly to express their aversion to the government's decision to have truck drivers tested in the region.

    According to a report by K24 on Wednesday, May 5, area residents complained that the government's decision was inconsiderate given that they were yet to record even a single case of the pandemic.

    Changwame MP John Mwinyi explained that the hospital ear-marked for the tests was within a residential area and thus the truck drivers' presence there was a huge risk to the residents.

    The MP's sentiments were echoed by several area residents, one who complained that they take their children to the very same hospital and thus expressed the fear of infections while there on routine visits.

    Long distance truck drivers line up before crossing into Uganda.
    File image of long-distance truck drivers lining up in Busia County before crossing into Uganda.

    "The point of bringing the drivers to be tested here is a huge risk. They come all the way from wherever and we the residents are yet to record even a single case here," a resident expressed his concern.

    The drivers, however, went to the centre to be tested despite the residents' protestation directive, only to find that the centre was not functional.

    "It is only yesterday that the Health CS [Mutah Kagwe] directed that truck drivers should come to Miritini and be tested for Covid-19 before proceeding on their journeys.

    "But all the signs in the place show that the hospital is not even functional and nothing has been going on around here for a long time," one irate truck driver complained.

    Another lamented over the testing costs charged for drivers stating that it was exorbitant yet in some neighbouring countries, the tests were free.

    "We are required to pay Ksh6,000 for the tests per trip to be taken. We go for two trips a month, which means that we will pay Ksh12,000 yet we only earn a Ksh20,000 salary.

    "Whenever we do the calculations, we see that it doesn't add up. We truck drivers are tired of being accused of spreading diseases to the people. First, it was HIV/Aids and now the pandemic," another lamented.

    Director of Public Health Francis Kuria on May 11, noted the risk factor associated with truck drivers, which he stated necessitated protocols to combat the spread.

    He announced that truck drivers had to be tested at least 48 hours before they started their journeys.