6-year-old dies of coronavirus in Kenya

Saturday April 4 2020

A video grab of Chief Administrative Secretary

A video grab of Chief Administrative Secretary Mercy Mwangangi reading a speech by Health minister Mutahi Kagwe.  

By DAILY NATION

The administration of Kenyatta National Hospital is isolating and testing patients and healthcare workers who were in the intensive care unit following the death of a six-year-old child from Covid-19.

The boy, who had chronic anaemia, succumbed to the disease on Wednesday, raising the number of people who have died of the coronavirus to four.

Health minister Mutahi Kagwe, in a speech read by Chief Administrative Secretary Mercy Mwangangi, said that 122 people had tested positive for Covid-19.

This was after another 12 people tested positive Friday from the 362 samples analysed in the preceding 24 hours.

Dr Patrick Amoth, the director-general of health, said the ward where the boy was admitted would be disinfected.

Dr Amoth stressed the need for social distancing, the directive that people should stay away from groups and from each other.

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VARYING EFFECTS

The hospital has not been forthcoming on the number of healthcare workers who have been asked to self-quarantine, but it is estimated that more than 10 registrars (master’s students) who had attended to the child will be asked to go into quarantine.

The isolation comes at a time when there are complaints by healthcare workers over the lack of protective gear to handle Covid-19.

Questions have also been raised about the preparedness of healthcare workers in sorting out patients with acute respiratory illnesses, such as pneumonia.

Those who contract Covid-19 experience the disease in different ways: one, the sub-clinical and asymptomatic, meaning those who have the virus but do not present any symptoms, and, two, those who get infected in the upper respiratory tract, who are easier to treat; then there are those that develop pneumonia, fall very sick and need assistance in breathing through ventilators.

Dr Amoth said healthcare workers have been trained on triage, a medical term that refers to modalities used to choose which patient to attend to first.

Some hospitals have decided to treat pneumonia as a potential Covid-19 until lab tests rule out the virus.

HIGH RISK PATIENTS

Covid-19 seems to have largely spared children, but nobody knows why.

The World Health Organisation warns that the elderly and people with a history of immunity-compromising conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart problems, are more likely to experience severe cases of Covid-19.

A tent has been set up at the entrance to Nakuru Level Five Hospital, where patients with acute respiratory infections are triaged.

Dr Joseph Mburu, the Medical Superintendent at the hospital, told the Saturday Nation that a clinical officer records a patient’s history, which includes travel, and carries out physical examination.

Studies show that asymptomatic people, those who do not show any symptoms, can spread the disease.

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