Kenya: Govt to Roll Out Home-Based Care for COVID-19 Patients, Kagwe Says

(file photo).

The government is seemingly overwhelmed by the increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases in the country.

This was made clear Thursday when Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said hospitals will be discharging Covid-19 patients to go and recuperate at home hence passing the battle to individuals.

Mr Kagwe said isolation facilities are full and since 80 per cent of the patients in various hospitals are asymptomatic, they may be managed from home.

What this means is that many people who are in various isolation facilities will be released to be taken care of at home.

“If this is implemented, it would free our health facilities from congestion. We’re looking into developing home-based and community care, provided that it’s in accordance with World Health Organisation protocols, which we’re currently reviewing and domesticating in line with our situation,” Mr Kagwe said.

Already, the designated national Covid-19 hospitals are overflowing with both ailing and asymptomatic patients.

Mr Kagwe mentioned that Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) and Mbagathi Hospital unit under KNH, were already full to capacity, meaning, no more patients, even those who may need care, will get a bed at any of these facilities.

Kenyatta University Teaching Referral and Research Hospital, a 300-bed facility, has only three beds left.

Further, in Busia County, Alupe Isolation Centre, which can only accommodate 71 patients, is overflowing with 98 patients as of Thursday.

“A time has come that we must begin to implement our own systems in our own country depending on our environment. Taking care of 500 people in hospital is not the same as looking after 5,000 people. The hospitals are full,” Mr Kagwe said.

Home-based care, he said, is the only way to be able to take care of the high numbers the country is already registering.

“We’re going to issue the protocols and the most important aspect will be how our citizens are going to react to them. It calls for a degree of discipline that Kenyans must stick to,” the CS said. But how practical is this strategy that the government is planning to implement?

In Nairobi for instance, informal settlements are leading in the number of infections with Kibra recording over 200 cases, followed by Mathare and Kawangware.

If the government implements home-based care protocols, how are people in poor neighbourhoods going to adapt given their living conditions?

According to the WHO protocols, the ability of individuals and families to isolate themselves at home will depend on the type of house and/or shelter.

In accordance with WHO guidelines, quarantined or self-isolated persons should have safe and dignified access to adequately ventilated single rooms, with a dedicated toilet, hand hygiene and washing facilities.

Where this cannot be achieved, mitigation measures shall be put in place in order, to the extent possible, comply.

WHO also states that to achieve home-based isolation, a separate ventilated bedroom is required where the person can recover without sharing immediate space with others.

“Home quarantine or isolation in informal settlements, collective shelters or other overcrowded settings will follow the guidance provided by the Ministry of Health on how to self-isolate, assuming they are well enough and do not require hospitalisation,” states the protocol.

The CS made the announcement as 124 more people tested positive for the new coronavirus bringing the national tally to 2,340.

Elgeyo Marakwet became the latest county to record a positive case. 36 counties now have been affected by the outbreak.

The new cases were discovered after the ministry conducted tests on 2,640 samples.

Of the new cases 40 are from Mombasa, 38 from Nairobi, 26 from Busia, Kajiado (6), Kiambu (3), Garissa (2), Taita Taveta (2) while Murang’a and Elgeyo Marakwet recorded one each.

In Mombasa the cases are distributed in the following estates: Mvita (14), Kisauni (11), Changamwe (6), Nyali (1) and Jomvu (1).

In Nairobi, the new cases were recorded in Kibra (25), Kamukunji (4), Dagoretti North (5), Westlands (2), Lang’ata (1) and Embakasi East (1).

Mr Kagwe also announced that four more patients succumbed to the disease bringing the total number of Covid-19 deaths in the country to 78.

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