Covid-19 How much time have we bought Kenya’s Health System? 31st May 2020

Covid-19 How much time have we bought Kenya’s Health System? 31st May 2020

Dr Richard Ayah

74 new Covid-19 cases were reported by the Ministry of Health today after 1,574 tests in the last 24 hours.Today on the eve of Madaraka_Day that commemorates the day in 1963 when we achieved self-independence as a country, the total number of Covid-19 positive cases is now 1,962; the official Covid-19 deaths 64 – a crude fatality rate of 3.3%. The dotted logarithmic line shows that there is still an acceleration in the number of new cases. 



Laikipia County  became the 34th county to record a Covid-19 case. Mombasa County and Nairobi County still have the larger burden of cases.

How much time have we saved?

On 30th March 2020, the acting Director General, Ministry of Health predicted that by 30th April 2020, Kenya would have 10,000 Covid-19 cases. A month after that milestone Kenya has 1,962 cases. Certainly, the number of cases is less, but does that mean Kenya is out of the woods? Unlikely. One major problem has been the lack of a consistent strategy to testing, coupled with breakdowns in the testing, ranging from lack of test kits to lack of historical trust in the system brought about by heavy handed attempts to enforce public health edicts through the police; @gathara  wrote on 7th May 2020, “Kenya was turning a public health crisis into a law and order one”. These are symptoms of a weak health system particularly the public health side, unable to take full advantage of the sacrifice Kenyans are making. Graph mapping daily tests done against positive cases illustrates the start-stop nature of testing. Even though there has been a steady overall rise in the number of tests done daily; A day when there is a relatively high number of cases is almost always followed by a drop, indicating a weakness in the system. 

Identifying, protecting those most vulnerable should be the goal of Covid-19 response, otherwise the time gained by initial action may be squandered by inadequate preparation. The challenge is that Covid-19 infection is growing at an exponential rate, the linear response is start-stop. What appears to be a two month gain, may be much less than is appreciated by the general public. Our health system remains very vulnerable. 

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Dr Richard Ayah

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