By Pauline Okeng’a
The unexpected Covid-19 pandemic has been with us for a while now despite disorganizing economy, movements and normal lifestyle in the world. The virus is infecting people indiscriminatively regardless of age, gender, status, race or tribe.
This is opposed to initial thought that it was mainly affecting certain age and race in the world. For those who undermined Covid-19, it killed thousands almost clearing people in such countries.
Globally, Health personnel have been working around the clock to save lives of infected patients, testing, giving preventive advice to general public and at the same time busy researching on possible vaccine.
The disease is not relenting either as most countries are currently experiencing spike in the curve. In Africa, countries are at the peak of the Coronavirus infections after easing containment measures such as lockdowns and curfews.
In Kenya for example, since President Uhuru Kenyatta lifted the ban of inter-counter movement restrictions, number of infected people have increased. Health-workers are likely to get overwhelmed as health facilities at Kenyatta National hospital and Mbagathi hospital are already packed to capacity.
Pumwani Maternal hospital is now ‘no going zone’ for visitors as patients and health-workers have been infected with the virus. This is scaring to the public especially expectant mothers who use the facility frequently for maternal services.
Recently, the medical fraternity lost one of their own due to the disease. This situation has caused panic among doctors and they are now demanding more PPEs among others.
Dr Onesmus Bwariu works at Neema hospital in Nairobi County, he reveals that most doctors have developed cold feet and reluctant to handle any patients more so admitted of Coronavirus. He adds the fear is not only with the doctors alone but patients have already complained and demand discharge despite their health conditions.
“We have been experiencing decline in number of patients visiting our hospital and others. But with the increase of infections in hospitals among health-workers, most people view it as possible environment for the virus contraction,” Dr Bwariu said.
“My experience with patients at the hospital I work is that many have underlying health conditions making them vulnerable to the Coronavirus. So patients keep off health facilities due to pre-existing medical concerns,” Dr Bwariu clarifies.
Dr Bwariu concurs with such patients based on informed decision since evidence shows coronavirus fatalities are with people of such health conditions.
Many residents in Ongata Rongai estate currently prefer over the counter medication in chemists as preventive measures.
Unfortunately, chemists have increased medicine prices becoming too expensive for patients to afford. A few either purchase full or half dosage which is they take in bits hence drug abuse.
Households that depend on daily wages and petty trade to make ends meet are finding it difficult to cope with the resulting effects.
Another important group affected is teachers especially from private schools. Naomi Akhatasia,is a teacher in pre-school in Buruburu eate,Nairobi. She risks losing her job as the administration is retrenching the staff.
Again she is not earning anything as her salary comes from school fees paid by parents. Schools being shutdown, Ms Akhatasia is troubled, not knowing how to pay her bills.
“We are paid our salary as parents remit school fees. Now I am surviving on my savings meaning that I have to reduce my expenditure,” Ms Akhatasia explains.
“One of my sons used to work in a church as subordinate staff but it has remained shut as well for the past three months now. He has been retrenched and the only one to depend on is my eldest son. But then again his salary cannot meet all our financial needs,” Ms Akhatasia explains.
Restriction on movements affected several individuals in different ways rendering many households in poverty.
John Njiru is an agent in is an apartment at Ongata Rongai estate. He says that over the last four months, they have recorded the largest number of tenants vacating out of the apartment.
“Most bedsitters in the building were previously occupied by university students who have since moved out. The rooms are vacant to date,” Njiru complains.
In long semester vacations thus June to July, many students do occupy the rooms as engage in part time jobs. So landlord make less lose are compared to the current situation.
Bernard Were, former university student, graduated last year, missed job opportunity in Kisumu due to lockdown.
“I had secured job in Kisumu but with lockdown means I could not travel out of Nairobi hence lost it,” Were regrets.
Eston Mukasa is an employee at a beverage company. However, Mukasa reveals that over the last four months the situation at his work place has been bad. There is no money coming in hence cost cutting has been in effect.
“In my department, 16 employees have been laid off with few remaining, receive half of their salary, Mukasa says.
Mukasa further explains his parents in the upcountry depends on him, family also look upon him. This is stress, burdensome and needs a lot guidance and counseling.
The government insists of prevention to Coronavirus is in the hands of every individual. So, for the situation to change for better, Kenyans must adhere to containment measures to flatten the curve sooner than later.