Contact tracing critical tool in controlling COVID-19: Kagwe

Written By: Claire Wanja
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On Monday, the CS for Health, Mutahi Kagwe handed over Rapid Response Vehicles to various counties, procured by the Covid-19 Health Emergency Response Project (C-HREP) at a cost of Kshs.102 million.

Health CS Mutahi Kagwe says contact tracing is a critical tool for controlling the pandemic through interruption of the transmission chain by early detection and isolation of cases.

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Speaking Monday during the hand over of Rapid Response Vehicles to 13 Counties, the CS said all counties are required to have rapid response/contact tracing.

“At the time of response to an alert on a suspected case, contacts are listed for follow-up and investigation and close contacts are tested and the rest are followed up for 14 days. I must say that this has not been an easy task, I congratulate our rapid response and surveillance teams for this great work they have been and continue doing. Initially, we were using telephone calls to get in touch with the contacts, but we are now rolling out a web based application, which is linked to the Kenya electronic medical records.” Said Kagwe

So far there are 229 teams in all the counties.

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He added that the National Response and Contact Tracing team is currently conducting training for the teams on the usage of the web based tool and data management.

He said transport has been one of the key challenges identified especially in accessing the rural areas as the government works at providing of quality health care.

“Today, as we continue with this fight, I am delighted that the contact tracing team is receiving a major boost from our development partners. It is my pleasure to preside the handover ceremony and distribution of Rapid Response Vehicles to various counties.  These vehicles have been procured by the Covid-19 Health Emergency Response Project(C-HREP) in my Ministry, at a cost of Kshs.102 million.” He added

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The vehicles to be handed over to 13 counties, will boost capacity in contact tracing and surveillance as work to curtail the spread of the virus in the country.

The counties identified to benefit from this support include; Nairobi which will get two vehicles one for Kenyatta National Hospital and the other, for the newly formed Nairobi Metropolitan Services.

The vehicles will boost capacity in contact tracing and surveillance as we work to curtail the spread of the virus in the country.

Others are Mombasa, Kiambu, Kajiado, Machakos, Nyeri, Migori, Busia, Uasin Gishu, Nakuru, Taita Taveta, Elgeyo Marakwet and Kisii.

The overall C-HERP project and the outcomes are designed to assist countries to prevent, detect and respond to the threat posed by COVID-19, and to strengthen the national systems for public health preparedness and responsiveness.

Kagwe said the project was selected for COVID-19 financing, because of the strategic place Kenya holds when it comes to global connectivity and travel, and the risks posed.

The C-HERP is provided through the World Bank Group Fast Track Facility, as part of a Global COVID-19 Multi-phase Program Approach (MPA).

“Swift detection of an outbreak, assessment of its epidemic potential and rapid emergency response can reduce avoidable mortality and morbidity, reduce the economic, social and security impacts. Failure in the rapid mobilization of financing and coordination of response, results in unnecessary casualties and significant socioeconomic consequences. By focusing on the containment, diagnosis and treatment of patients, the proposed project seeks to control the disease outbreak and limit socio-economic losses.” He said

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He noted that critical interventions are needed to reduce morbidity and mortality rates from existing and emerging infectious diseases, curtail the spread of COVID-19 and mitigate the social impacts of the outbreak.

The development of the National COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan includes, strengthening of the Public Health Emergency Operation Centre, for efficient emergency response for multiple hazards, strengthening surveillance and information systems. It also aims at increasing laboratory capacity, improved infection and prevention control, as well as case management, improve disease surveillance and emergency response in the country.

Monday, 189 people have tested positive from a sample size of 1,205 tested in the last 24 hours bringing to 10,294 the number of those who have tested positive so far in the country.

This pushes the cumulative tests figures to 216, 242.

In terms of gender 106 are males and 83 are females while the youngest is a five (5) year old child and the oldest is 71.

The distribution of the positive cases by counties is as follows; Nairobi 147, Kiambu 20, Machakos 11, Kajiado 5, Mombasa 2,Uasin Gishu, Kisumu, Laikipia and Kericho have one (1) case each.

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The distribution of the cases by sub counties is as follows; in Nairobi, the 147 cases are in; Dagoretti North (77), Embakasi East (10), Makadara (10), Embakasi South (9), Kibra (9), Embakasi West (6), Langata (4), Kamukunji and Kasarani (2) cases each while Dagoretti South, Embakasi Central and Embakasi North have one (1) case each.

In Kiambu, the 20 cases are in Kiambu Town (6), Kikuyu, Kabete, Kiambaa, Ruiru and Thika have two (2) cases each, while in Machakos, the (11) cases are in Athi River (7), Machakos (3), and Masinga (1).In Gatundu South, Githunguri, Juja and Limuru have one (1) case each.

In Kajiado, the 5 cases are in Kajiado North (4), and Kajiado East (1). The 2 cases in Mombasa are in Kisauni and Nyali.

65 patients were discharged from various hospitals bringing to 2,946 the number of recoveries from the disease in the country.

However, 12 Kenyans succumbed to the virus bringing the total number of fatalities to 197.

“All the deaths are from Nairobi County, nine from various hospitals, while the three are community deaths. This is the highest number to fatalities recorded in a single day since this pandemic struck. I want to pass my sincere condolences to the families and friends of those who have lost their loved ones.” Noted the CS

 

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