During his latest brief, President Uhuru Kenyatta talked about three thresholds that Kenya is yet to meet if the country plans to reopen the economy by easing down restrictions put in place to combat the spread of the Coronavirus.
The President did not want to say it on our faces. We still have a long way to go. In fact, I think he sugar-coated his speech. He should have said, “Fellow Kenyans, we are ill-prepared to fight the spread of the virus since our health facilities could be overwhelmed in a few days.”
Apparently, Kenya has only 3,700 beds in its 151 Covid-19 isolation units while the number of cases is surging daily already at 2,862. Honestly, the virus will not wait for the country to prepare so that it continues with its journey of spreading and killing people.
Siaya County at the time of the President’s Address had only 10 beds in its Covid -19 isolation facility where nine out the ten beds were already occupied. All nine people had contacted one positive person!
Busia isolation facility was said to have 34 beds all fully occupied and the facility was already overcrowded a situation showing just how ill-prepared the country is in tackling the pandemic.
The Kenyatta University referral hospital is having a commendable number, but it serves Nairobi, the county with the highest number of Covid-19 cases so the probability of it getting overwhelmed is somehow high.
Testing on the other hand has been commendable. Kenya just hit the 100,000 marks but the more the number of testing being conducted the better.
To be sincere we cannot compare Kenya to big economies like the United States or the United Kingdom which were able to conduct over 100,000 tests within 24 hours and had over 10,000 beds in their Covid-19 facilities. Not here in Kenya.
Whereas the big economies were conducting up to 100,000 tests within 24 hours, Kenya was operating at around 1,000 to 3,000 and thus numbers could differ through the virus had not taken the course in the country.
Now that Kenya has increased and is still planning to increase the tests on Covid&19 samples, the level of preparedness should also take the same direction. In fact, Kenya should have used its projection modules that showed that by the end of April over 10,000 cases could be reported.
If a county could afford 10 beds in three months, does it mean that it will have to wait for another three months to add ten new beds?
With the number of cases surging and expectations are high that they will continue to go up, the directive by the president to have at least 300 beds in every Covid-19 facility should take effect as soon as now or else we are headed for a crash landing.