File picture: Silas Camargo Silão/Pixabay hospital beds; empty hospital ward
File picture: Silas Camargo Silão/Pixabay hospital beds; empty hospital ward

Kenya hospitals stock up as they brace for fourth wave of Covid-19

By Crispin Adriaanse Time of article published Jun 8, 2021

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The cold season approaching Kenya points to a probable rise in Covid-19 infections which could usher in the country’s fourth wave of the pandemic.

The East African country’s cold season occurs between June and August - traditionally the flu season - and while there have been no predictions communicated by the health ministry, healthcare facilities have been quietly stocking up on oxygen and bed capacity “in preparation for a major surge in Covid-19 cases next month,” local newspaper The Star reported on Tuesday.

Citing the latest update from the National Emergency Response Committee on Coronavirus, the ministry of health said the country’s cumulative confirmed cases of Covid-19 were 172,639 as of June 7.

World Health Organization (WHO) statistics reveal Kenya’s first wave of Covid-19 occurred between June and August 2020, the second wave between October and December 2020 and the third wave between March and May this year.

Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe warned Kenyans last week of a fourth wave if Covid-19 mitigating measures were not practised, adding that it would be much deadlier than the previous three, the BBC reported.

Health expert Dr Bernard Muia predicts cases will go up by next week due to an increase in political gatherings in Nyanza as well as in Kisumu, after thousands of people turned up to celebrate Madaraka Day on June 1, The Star reported.

Madaraka Day, the annual celebration to mark Kenya’s anniversary of self-rule, was celebrated for the first time in Kisumu, State House Kenya said at the time.

Kisumu Governor Anyang' Nyong'o confirmed on Monday that cases of Covid-19 increased four times last week compared to the first week of May, according to The Star.

On Saturday, the health ministry said Kisumu county had the highest reported cases of Covid-19 in the country.

“I request you, quickly stockpile oxygen delivery systems (oxygen, health workers and critical care beds). In a pandemic, the best strategy, like in war, is to over-prepare,” The Star quoted Dr Githinji Gitahi of Amref Health as telling Nyong'o.

Amref Health Africa in Kenya posted on social media that precautions such as physical distancing and wearing masks should still be adhered to even if citizens had received one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

A total of 989,029 vaccine doses have been administered in Kenya as of June 7, the health ministry said, with those aged over 58 years, health care workers, teachers, and security personnel being given priority.

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African News Agency (ANA)

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