Kenya: Kagwe Seeks Out Village Elders in Covid-19 War

25 September 2020

The Ministry of Health has changed tack, now opting to engage village elders and other grassroots leaders to stem the apathy among Kenyans.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe urged community leaders to encourage people to adhere to the health guidelines. The country recorded 141 new cases yesterday, bringing the total to 37,489 with more than 527,000 tests conducted so far. Another five have died, raising the fatalities to 669.

"You must ensure that all sorts of gatherings are discouraged, people are encouraged to wear masks, and also the social and physical distance is maintained," the minister said.

He urged communities to participate in the prevention as "the government already played its part", acknowledging that the virus had caused social and economic pain.

He emphasised: "We all want our lives back. We all want our children to go back to school. We all want our businesses to boom."

Nairobi still accounts for the largest portion (54 per cent) of Covid-19 cases, with a total of 20,380 followed by Mombasa with 2,819 (8 per cent) and Kiambu with 2,673 (7 per cent).

Local leaders

Of the cases registered on Thursday, 28 are in Trans Nzoia, 24 in Nakuru, 14 in Nairobi and Mombasa. The other counties with more than five cases are Kiambu (9), Migori (8), Kisumu and Kajiado (both 6). Uasin Gishu, Narok and Kitui each had five cases, while Turkana had four cases. Bungoma, Homa Bay, West Pokot and Machakos each had two cases. There was one case each in Murang'a, Nandi, Vihiga, Meru and Busia counties.

CS Kagwe added that he had collected "interesting" views from the local leaders.

The change of strategy comes a day after the minister said that the country is flattening the curve, towards the recommended five per cent of all tests done, but cautioned that the country is not out of the woods yet.

The Africa CDC had raised the alarm that people in Kenya and other African countries were experiencing "prevention fatigue", where they are tired of taking precaution and warned this would cause more infection.

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