On Thursday, I went to my bank. At the entrance, a female security guard sprayed my hands with sanitiser and proceeded to point a “pistol” thermometer at my face.
She took a glance at the reading and pronounced me safe to access the bank.
I asked to see what my temperature reading was; it was 26.5 degrees. I told the woman that it was not possible that my temperature could be so low on any of the two common measurement scales – Celsius or Fahrenheit.
I actually told her that such a temperature reading was that of a corpse not of a mzee still on his feet. She was adamant that I was okay as long as the reading is below 39 degrees. I proceeded to the bank and soon exited.
On my way out, a male colleague was the one taking the temperature of a man intending to enter the bank. The gadget was pointed towards the man’s palm and soon he was declared safe and he proceeded.
I again asked to take a look at the reading. It was 25.8 degrees. I told the two guards that their gadget was faulty or they did not know how to use it. They laughed at me and told me, “mzee you go. This thing is okay.” So off I went.
The problem is this. If that gadget had been in the hands of a trained medic, they would know that a walking man’s temperature reading of 26 degrees is unusual and the likely cause of such a reading is either a faulty gadget or one that is being applied incorrectly.
The lesson is that the bank meant well to have clients’ temperatures monitored, but the personnel deployed were not properly prepared for their task.
In the circumstances, it is possible to let in a client who is infected but is cleared to enter because the equipment is malfunctioning or is not properly being applied.
For the safety of all citizens, the Ministry of Health might do well to issue some guidelines for non-professionals having to use these gadgets.