Nakuru's health department steps up Covid-19 surveillance

Wednesday March 18 2020
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Nakuru County Health Executive Kariuki Gichuki speaks in a past function at the Nakuru County Assembly. PHOTO | FRANCIS MUREITHI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By FRANCIS MUREITHI

The Nakuru County Health department is on high alert and has advised the executive to set aside between Sh20 million and Sh30 million to deal with any Covid-19 (coronavirus) emergency.

“As a precautionary measure, the department has written to the executive to get ready for any serious intervention,” said the County Minister for Health Kariuki Gichuki.

However, Dr Gichuki clarified that his department has not asked for the emergency funds, saying “there is no need for it at the moment”.

He said the county has trained 233 health workers from both public and private hospitals on Covid-19 surveillance.

PROTECTION EQUIPMENT

At least 100 sets of personal protection equipment have been purchased as part of the preparations to handle the new coronavirus.

“We have adequate supply of oxygen from Provincial General Hospital (PGH) oxygen plant, more than 130 thermo-gun thermometers, drips and other basic equipment to handle any case of Covid-19 in the county,” he added.

“Coronavirus is not a joke. Its financial implication is massive not only for the county but also for the country. The best policy is to dwell more on prevention and promotion of health services through public awareness campaigns,” said Dr Gichuki.

He revealed that the county has mapped out sites where foreigners, especially Chinese nationals, are living.

CHINESE NATIONALS

Dr Gichuki said that all Chinese nationals in the county working in road construction sites, the dry port in Naivasha and hotels have been identified and mapped.

China was the epicentre of the outbreak that has so far infected more than100,000 people globally and killed at least 4,000 so far.

“We have come up with this preparedness strategy as a precautionary measure and we are not segregating the Chinese in the county,” said Dr Gichuki.

He added, “It is safe to map them and keep tracking them to ensure they religiously stick to self-quarantine.”

Dr Gichuki announced that there is no room for complacency, adding that the county is keeping a close tab on Chinese nationals in Njoro, Piave and Barut in Nakuru West.

PERSONAL PROTECTION

“We know where all Chinese national are stationed and working and we are monitoring them round the clock and so far everything is under control,” added Dr Gichuki.

At the same time, workers and hoteliers in the mapped areas have been trained on case detection, identification and reporting, personal protection and infection control.

Dr Gichuki announced that the Health department has set up isolation wards at the Nakuru PGH and Naivasha Sub-County Hospital as part of its elaborate measures to deal with any Covid-19 case.

He said that the county has developed a short message service platform to inform the public what coronavirus is, how it is spread and how to prevent themselves from contracting the deadly virus.

DAILY MESSAGES

“We want the residents to know about Covid-19 the way they know about HIV/Aids and that is the message we are disseminating daily through community health units and public meetings among others,” said Dr Gichuki.

He added that residents of all Nakuru’s 11 sub-counties are updated daily on the latest information from the World Health Organisation which has declared Covid-19 a pandemic.

Dr Gichuki announced that his department will soon conduct a mock drill to test the county’s preparedness and response.

“This will provide lessons to be learnt and give appropriate recommendations,” said Dr Gichuki.

Last month, Lare Ward MCA Philip Wanjohi sought a statement from the Health department concerning the county’s preparedness to handle Covid-19.