Health Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Dr Mercy Mwangangi has said that about 15 per cent of COVID-19 deaths in Kenya are attributed to the youth and it is very important for them to engage with government and partners especially in the fight against the virus.
Dr Mwangangi explained that the 15 per cent deaths are between the ages of 20-40 years and it becomes very important for the young people to follow the laid down protocols by the Ministry of Health so that they can protect themselves and their families.
Speaking on Monday at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) while receiving handwashing stations from government partners in the fight against COVID-19, the CAS said, “about 10 years ago before I put down my stethoscope and got into the policy space in health, as practicing doctors we always used to say the best place to do a rotation was in the pediatric department because young people are very resilient and are able to bounce back and perhaps you get lesser mortality when you are dealing with this age group, sadly though in this era of COVID-19 the tide is changing and it is changing against us.”
She called on the media to really focus on sensitizing the general public about COVID-19 and demystifying the myth that the virus doesn’t exist.
“If people are in a room and they are all wearing masks that is an 80 per cent reduction in the rate of transmission and that is really impactful. That is all we are asking you to do as the youth in the country to just wear masks, wash hands, sanitize and lets all work together in recovering as a country from this pandemic,” said the CAS.
Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs CAS Nadia Ahmed thanked the president for including the young people in key decision making spaces saying that the appointment of five CAS’s who are under 35 years old has put the young people on the forefront and amplified their voices and existence because the CAS’s are able to articulate issues that the young people are raising on the ground, in informal settlements and other areas.
“The president appointed young CAS’s including Dr Mercy Mwangangi (Health), Zack Kinuthia (Education), Ann Nyaga (Agriculture), Maureen Mbaka (ICT and Youth Affairs) and myself. By this the young people feel that the government is working for them in the sense that their issues are being articulated in high offices and the fruits are events like today where we hand over sanitizers, water tanks and hand washing stations to help the youth as they fend for themselves,” said Ahmed.
The CAS said that COVID-19 has come with so many challenges with the youth being the most affected insisting that as a government they are collectively doing the much they can do to make sure that the youth are fully facilitated to go on with their livelihoods.
“We are having conversations about youth involvement, innovation and sensitization and this should show you that as a collective, as a government we are doing the necessary that we can in order for us to be effective and protect our country,” added Ahmed.
She continued to say that the youth are not the future but they are the present and challenged the youth to join hands with other partners to protect the old people from the deadly COVID-19.
Principal Secretary (PS) in the State Department for Youth Affairs (PS) Julius Korir said: “COVID-19 has brought suffering to the young people who are in their early stages of life where they are eager to earn a living and the pandemic has disrupted that and because of the desperation you find the young people throwing caution into the wind and trying to earn a living and our duty is to make sure they are safe while they are working.”
Korir said that they have received donations from partners which included Dettol who provided 15 cartons of soap and 15 handwashing stations, 50 hand washing stations from StarTimes, 100 cartons of sanitizer from Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC), 16 water tanks with a capacity to hold 3, 000 litres from Athi Water Work Development Authority.