In compliance with the Presidential directive for 300 bed capacity isolation center, the county government of Kisumu has identified three facilities including Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital (JOOTRH), Kisumu County referral hospital and Lumumba hospital to meet the required capacity for isolation measures.
In all, the County health department has set aside 279 more beds in the 3 facilities to be used for isolation wards and treatment of the coronavirus. With a current bed capacity as at 21, the health department has offered to set up quarantine facilities in the hospitals with additional 60 beds at JOOTRH, 119 at Kisumu County referral hospital and 100 beds at Lumumba hospital. The 3 facilities are being readied for keeping the patients in isolation.
Disclosing this earlier on, the County director health and sanitation Mr. Fredrick Oluoch said the County is set to provide the additional beds in the 3 facilities as a precautionary effort, with 30 beds currently ready for dispatch into the facilities.
A series of measures have previously been put in place to help mitigate the pandemic as the country faces alarming projections of the number of COVID-19 cases, the pressure to meet spiraling health system needs is strong especially for hospital based care.
Apart from creating isolation centers, the health department has also to trained health workers on handling the coronavirus cases, if reported, special focus on screening of travelers along the County borders, screening in public spaces, establishment and operationalization of the COVID response management committee, setting up of holding rooms at the Sub County hospitals, operationalization of the call center (Toll free number 0800720575) and contact tracing progress.
By Matilda Atieno
Governor Nyong’o has today officially established the Covid -19 response fund committee to effectively raise, and manage the funds in an impactful and accountable interventions that will mitigate the adverse effects of the Coronavirus and floods, in a bid restore Socio- economic status of county residents.
This is the second committee formed after the Kisumu Economic and Social Council (KECOSOC) established last year. Its formation is as per the guidelines of the public finance management Act 2012, vetted by the County Assembly procedures.
While charging the committee with the responsibility of managing the funds accountably in the interest of the people of Kisumu, the Governor called on them to work with partners to mobilize more funds in addition to the seed Ksh. 200M raised from the County budget that has so far been approved by the County Assembly, as well as contributions from Senior Government Officials who have contributed Kshs. 3.7 million through pay cuts.
The Committee comprises of the Chairperson Mr. Bhire Chatter, CEC Finance and Planning Mr. George Omondi Okong’o, Chief Officer health in charge of Administration and Partnerships Mr. Alphonse Ouya, Chief Officer Agriculture and Livestock Dr. Paul Omanga, Deputy Governor emeritus Ruth Odinga, Civil Society Organization Representative Madam Winnie Ogot, Madam Jessica Ogombe, Mr. Fund Secretary Mr. Caleb Opon, Mr. Walter Odede, a member of Kecosoc and also representing the youth and Fund Administrator Mr. Akaka Ramoyo
The second batch of pharmaceuticals and non pharmaceutical medicine worth Kshs. 22 Million has been delivered to various health centers and dispensaries across the county.
The distribution of free essential medicines and non medicinal consignments kicked off on the 26th may with level 2 to 3 health centers including Dago Kakore Dispensary in Kisumu West and Railways Dispensary in Kisumu central sub counties receiving their consignments.
Other facilities that received drugs included, Nyalunya health center, Angola community dispensary, Kuoyo health center, Orongo dispensary, Kawino Health center, Nyalenda health center, Pandpieri health center, Dunga health center, Sayyid Aisha health center, Administration Police line Dispensary, Police line dispensary among others.
The exercise is aimed at addressing drug shortage witnessed across the county. The drugs are supplied and distributed through the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA), who is committed to steady supply to the County.
The availability of medicine in the lower level health facilities will ascertain the quality of health provision in health facilities in order to cope with the increasing burden COVID-19 and other health related issues.
According to the nursing officer, Ruth Njau, Dago Kokore dispensary is a level 3 facility which serves Dago and Kogony catchment areas with a target population of 3900.
” We have received antibacterial drugs for both adults and pediatrics, disinfectants, surgical gloves among other drugs.” said Ms. Njau.
The area resident, Mrs. Juliana Ogola was glad that the medicine was now available for them who will be seeking medication from the health facility.
Speaking to the Director public health and sanitation, Mr. Fred Oluoch said the county is currently receiving drugs for level 3 and 4 facilities across the county.
The directors implored health workers to ensure drug security, urging residents to seek medication in the health facilities even in the face of COVID-19 pandemic adding that the County health department has put in place systems in all the health facilities for monitoring the flow of drugs from hospital pharmacies to patients to ensure drug security.
The Kisumu call centre is one of the interventions set up for the fight against the covid-19 in the county and Kenya at large.
The covid-19 rapid response call centre with a tall free number 0800720575 was launched on the 6th of May this year and has been in operation for the last 3 weeks. On average the centre receives 230 daily calls from within Kisumu County and all over the country.
Kisumu County set up the virtual call centre helpline in partnership with Maseno University and to assist in surveillance against the pandemic. The Toll free line is aimed at enhancing service uptake during the COVID -19 pandemic. The centre operates 24/7 with 6 operators who are medical students, IT literate and are trained on online data collection.
Sitting inside a quiet room, a group of pleasant-looking young medical student is talking into their phones, engaging callers and at the same time keying in information on their desktop computers. Their callers, however, are rather far away. Nothing is left to chance as callers are responded to in a suitable off-the-cuff reply.
The operators key bio data of all callers, the reason of the call and the summary of action taken on reported cases on the data collection chart. The centre receives COVID-19 related cases as well as other unrelated and general calls from the public. “The centre is a toll free service and any one can call without charges on the caller.” Said call centre manager, Mr. Jeremiah Ongwara
“We conceal that caller’s identity and in the case that the caller request for anonymity we ensure non disclosure of the caller’s identity.” Mr. Jeremiah Ongwara concedes.
Mr. Ongwara who is also the call center manager said the operators are medical students who can respond and dispense medical consultation on many cases without referring to the manager for action.
The County Director for public health and sanitation, Mr. Fred Oluoch paid a courtesy call to the centre located in a smart open plan office on the ground floor of the Maseno University, town campus. The Director urged residents to make use of the call centre by calling the toll free number 0800720575, adding that this will contribute to the surveillance and containment of the pandemic in Kisumu.
Mr. Oluoch commended the team of operators saying, “The dedicated operators are doing magnificent work supporting with surveillance to ensure containment and prevention of the corona virus in the county.
The details of the calls are classified by case definition, response measures, data collection and analysis of the report.
The call centre helpline is designed as an intervention mechanism against COVID-19 and has also helped in providing general medical advice ranging from pregnant mothers, to flood victims and other emergencies.
“To date, our dedicated call centre operators have dealt with 5300 inquiries in response to CALL INS.” Said Director Oluoch.
By Matilda Atieno
SINGING AWAY COVID-19
by Lorraine Anyango
11 year old Marvin Okumu, resorted to singing, the best way he knew to help put food on the table for his mom and six other siblings.
Vexed with hunger pangs, as his mother’s vegetable kiosk could no longer sufficiently cater for them, young Okumu composed a song on Covid 19, picking information from main stream media.
Armed with the song, he took to the streets and different offices to entertain people in exchange for a few coins to temporarily offer relief to his families’ current predicament.
Information officers from Kisumu County caught up with the young lad as he presented his song in different county offices there after seeking for financial support from his listeners.
“Can I sing for you a song on corona?” He queried “When I do so will you support me financially to help my mother buy food and the remaining money I will save to enable me record my songs “He added
As soon as he got a nod from the officers, he sounded to a rap beat recounting the effects and impacts of the corona pandemic and calling on leading including President Uhuru Kenyatta and Kisumu Governor Prof.Peter Nyongo to take the necessary steps to protect Kenyan citizens from further negative effects of Corona.
The class five boy together with his mother Esther Awino and his siblings breathed a sigh of relief as officers from the County’s special programs department were called in to intervene.
“I sell traditional vegetables at Mama safi Nyalenda estate here in Kisumu, where I live with my seven children after the demise of my husband in 2018.” Awino said.
“Though we live from hand to mouth, it’s been even harder to afford a meal for my children at the setting in of Corona virus.” She added.
She received rice, beans, cooking oil, soap, salt, maize meal and sugar. “Thank you so much, ohh Gorofa ya Nyongo imenisaidia”. said the young boy as they received the supplies.
Awino’s family is part of those who have benefitted from the partnership between the Kisumu county government and the community.
The family received food donations handed over to them by Covid 19 secretariat coordinator Ms Lilian Ligeyo and the special programs Administration officer, Ms Risper Anyango.
Ms Ligeyo stated that they have already distributed food supplies to 300 household in the last three weeks, adding that they ate targeting 7000 house hold which have been adversely affected with both the floods and Covid 19.
They were prepairing packages that will be given out by Kisumu Governor Prof. Nyongo to 3,000 households in Seme, Nyando and Nyakach sub counties.
The partnership committee targets data of 30,000 families that need food, at the time of going to the press the data already in was totaling to 15,000.
The committee is led by Mr Yogi Dauda and Mr Leornard Kwame who is the director administration and governance.
So far Kibos, Sugar, Jubilee Jambo, Diakonia compassionate ministry, Kesha, Living good, Kmet, Make me smile, KBL among others have contributed to the Covid 19 Kitty among others have sent contribution to aid needy families in this season.
Governor Nyong’o today officially launched the Covid – 19 communication centre with a toll free number 0800 720 575 at the Maseno University plaza.
It is the very first Covid-19 Call Centre set up and managed by a devolved government and the second after the National Call Centre in Nairobi, set up by the County in partnership with Maseno university and Pharm Access
While giving his speech during the event, the Governor stated that the communication Centre will not only be a channel for relaying to the public real time information on the pandemic status in the County, information on prevention and clinical strategies but will also be key in linking the public with the health surveillance teams to enhance contact tracing which is key in minimizing community infections.
The Centre will also be significant in monitoring the pandemic trends and the management operations deployed; public perceptions, beliefs and misconceptions in consultation with the public health officers to determine how to address them and provide psychosocial support to distressed callers.
The Governor reiterated that since the breakout of the pandemic in the country, 100 samples from 152 suspected cases have been tested with all returning negative results.
82 of the tested being males and 18 females. 34 of the tests were conducted from cases from our Isolation centres and 66 from the quarantine facilities
He equated the zero situation in the county to hard work that should not and has not resulted in complacency and emphasized on continued aggression into preventive activities including awareness resulting into positive behaviour of safe social distancing, hand washing, wearing of face masks and staying at home.
“Our primary goal as a government is to prevent the emergence and transmission of the COVID-19 within the county” said the Governor.
Professor Julius Nyabundi on his part, thanked the Governor for choosing Maseno University to be the call canter and that they look forward to be part of the control and management of covid 19 by keeping it away and not lock it up.
He called on the government to consider the sustainability of the centre after the pandemic to facilitate the locals on knowledge and facilitation on health services awareness creation.
He called on the members of County Assembly to put politics a side and support the Governor in mitigating the disease that is affecting the people who elected them to be served by them.
Maseno University has volunteered medical students of 5th and 6th years of study to work in the call center.
Madam Natalie of Pharm Access foundation said they are grateful to be associated with the initiative that will benefit residents of Kisumu County.
Pharm Access has also partnered with the county on a number of services including M- tiba bulk SMS platform, IEC materials, free transport for mothers who want to access health services during curfew among others.
The Speaker of the Assembly Hon. Elisha Oraro said the assembly is coming up with regulations to manage the pandemic in a week’s time. Currently they are still collecting views from the public since it is a collective responsibility.
The Governor also received 1,500 washable face masks and 1,058 hand sanitizers from KMET and 135,000 litters of hand sanitizers from Kenya breweried limited.
Also present during the event were: CEC Cooperatives and Marketing Professor Judith Attyang’, CEC Energy and Industrialisation Mr Nerry Achar, Dean of school of Medicine Maseno University, Professor Ogendo, Dr George Rae, Majority leader of the County Assembly, MCA Millimani market, Hon.Seth Kanga, MCA Railways Ward Hon. David Arao among other dignitaries.
The County government has enhanced border surveillance along the border with the neighboring counties in an effort to prevent and contain entry of vehicles and people.
The new measures including thermo gun testing and fumigation of public service vehicles at the entry points to Kisumu County at Sondu in Nyakach, Muhoroni at fort-tenan, Bangla, Awasi, Nyakwere, Pala Market in Nyando, Kisian, Kisumu pier and at Dunga beach.
Addressing journalist, Kisumu Governor said being a transit county and a city, Kisumu is forced to enhance surveillance following reported cases in the neighboring counties
“Our surveillance team along the county entry points will be on 24/7 vigilance to ensure no case is left undetected” Said the Governor.
The Kisumu County today announced the 7th COVID-19, positive cases and one fatality in the County since the last zero situation report on the 22nd of May 2019.
During the media briefing earlier today, Governor Prof. Anyang’ Nyong’o stated that the diseased was a 57 year old male symptomatic patient referred from Migori. All of the 7 cases are reported to have been imported in the county with two being transiting long distance truck drivers from Busia Border Control, while 4 of the cases were persons who traveled to Kisumu from Nairobi to attend three different funerals and 1 deceased.
The diseased presented with COVID-19 like symptoms and later was pronounced dead while under management. Currently contact tracing of 66 people linked to the positive cases have been identified and quarantined. The other four the governor said are admitted at the JOOTRH isolation center while the other two are in isolation centers in Nairobi.
The Governor also stated that the County is set to undertake stratified random sampling as away of establishing level of corona-virus infections in the County. Stratified random sampling is a method of sampling that involves the division of a population into smaller sub-groups known as strata. The sampling study will be done in conjunction with Maseno university.
So far, 526 tests have been carried out of which 73% are males and 27% females.
7 More Stringent Measures to Contain COVID-19
In the face of the positive cases in Kisumu, Governor Nyong’o today reiterated the various precautionary actions to prevent any further spread of the virus and in order to protect residents and other persons of concern from becoming infected with the virus.
These actions provides protective measures such as limiting travel, avoiding crowds, social distancing, thorough and frequent monitoring to slow down the development of new COVID-19 cases and reduce the risk of overwhelming the health care system.
The measures are in line with the COVID-19 preventive actions which include:
- All bodies being transported from outside the county to or through the county shall be accompanied by cause of death record certified by a government pathologist and shall be accompanied by NOT more than 5 persons. The cause of death certificate shall be sent to the County Director of Public Health before departure from point of origin.
- All persons accompanying such bodies MUST be in possession of Covid-19 negative Certificates issued at the point of origin which must be presented to the County Director of Public Health before commencement of such journeys and written authority granted.
- Such bodies and accompanying parties SHALL be screened at the county border points of entry where the validity of the aforementioned documents shall be verified before being allowed to proceed to their destinations.
- Bodies transiting through the County shall be escorted by a team of security and public health officers from the border of entry to the border of exit and SHALL NOT be allowed to make any stop-over within the county.
- All bodies from within the county SHALL be removed from mortuaries no later than 9.30 AM for internment and buried within 6 hours of removal.
- All deaths within the county SHALL be either buried or cremated within 48 hours of such deaths.
- No mortuary either public or private SHALL receive bodies from deaths occurring from outside their facilities unless it is a police case which MUST only be presented by the police. Mortuaries that deviate from this directive SHALL have their licenses withdrawn and offending officers prosecuted under the provisions of the Public Health Act.
150 dairy goats have been distributed to the farmers in an effort to improve household nutrition and rebuilding of livelihood of residents a midst the two devastating catastrophes that have greatly compromised livelihoods in the county.
This is part of the county government effort led by the department of Agriculture, Livestock and fisheries to restore livelihoods and combat critical levels of food insecurity and malnutrition in the wake of floods and COVID -19 pandemic.
According to Kisumu Governor Prof. Anyang’ Nyong’o, The Covid-19 pandemic and ongoing floods has provoked the displacement of up to 13000 households, destruction of about 8000 acres of rice, 30,000 acres of maize, 16,000 acres of sorgum, 8000 acres of pulse, 2000 acres of cassava, 2500 acres of vegetables and thousands of livestock all with a market value of about 3 billion shillings.
The 150 goats acquired at a cost of Kshs. 5,043,400 will ensure that dairy farmers improve household food and nutrition security, reduce stunting growth among our children under the age of five as well as increase participation of women and the youth in the dairy sub-sector.
The distribution of goats has come as the contribution by the County Government to rebuild livelihood and address food insecurity in the county. The distribution targeted farmers from the 7 sub counties in Kisumu.
The county government has so far put in a robust relief supply strategy that has been ongoing in the various camps in the county to support the vulnerable and the affected residents.
To ensure livelihood sustainability, the county government has further ensured that goats that meet specifications of good health and breeding performance are distributed to the residents.
The County government has put in place strategies to ensure security and accountability in dispensation of medicine and use of non-pharmaceuticals supplies in Kisumu health facilities.
The approach includes; use of gate pass in all public hospitals during distribution of medicines to satellite health facilities that will be verified by the security persons in charge of the gate who will only allow the movement/exit if they see that the officer has been authorized, The transportation of the commodities for distribution will only be done through a lawfully recognized mode of transportation for government stores , Regular audits on usage of health products, Regular supportive supervision to the health facilities to enforce among other things improved management and accountability for medicines and supplies especially in rural health facilities and lastly, the introduction of electronic dispensing and inventory management system in every public health facility.