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
740 traders who previously occupied the streets of Jomo Kenyatta Sports ground, Oginga Odinga, Ang’awa, Lower and Upper Ojino Okew have a reason to smile after being relocated to a newly constructed state of the art market, situated behind Jomo Kenyatta Sports ground.
The structure is a component of the non- motorized transport project which cost 37 million, equipped with essential facilities such as water, reticulation, electricity, security and sanitation to enhance trading hours.
While commissioning the market, Governor Nyong’o stated that the infrastructure will ensure that the residents consume healthy living in clean environments which is in line with his manifesto.
Cognizant of the key role played by traders in building the economy, he further reiterated that the initiative will go along way in enabling sustainable restructuring of revenue streams and also expose the traders to access trade funds from financial institutions and government. Sentiments echoed by his Deputy Dr Owili and the County Speaker Hon. Elisha Oraro.
He also outlined other development works in the pipeline such as completion of Uhuru market that will accommodate 7,000 more traders who were moved out of the CBD construction of span roads in Kondele, Manyatta and the national road to be done by KENHA connecting Mamboleo to Muhoroni,Putting up affordable housing in Kaloleni, injecting 13 million in solar power that would reduce electricity bills and modernizing of the Moi stadium.
The Governor thanked the development partners for their financial and technical support in the realization of the vision namely the World Bank, National government through the state department of urban Development, ITDP. He also thanked the traders who patiently endured the inconveniences of having to give way during the project construction period.
He was accompanied by a host of MCAs, CECs, City Manager, City board members among other dignitaries. Also present were traders in the CBD.
On Friday the 22nd of May, Kisumu County reported zero cases having carried out 307 tests, 68 days after the first confirmed case in Kenya.
As the country records 1109 cases and 50 deaths from the 52,507 tests recorded to date, Kisumu Governor Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o reported that the 307 tests have been carried out from suspected cases that exhibited case definitions and admitted at our isolation centers.
“41 are from isolation wards, 102 from quarantine centers, 36 JOOTRH patients with respiratory illness, 11 inmates from Kodiaga, 27 truck drivers, 82 hoteliers and 8 own requests.” says the Governor.
While addressing the press earlier today on the latest update, the Governor gave credit to the county’s response and prevention strategy as the reason for the current zero cases in Kisumu.
The strategy involves Training of 2187 Health care Workers, Risk Communication, Public Awareness and Education, compliance with the prevention guidelines released by the Ministry of Health, enhanced community and border surveillance screening.
The governor also stated that testing Kits are available, and that KEMRI is ready and able to conduct screening tests with 82 hotel workers having been tested to date.
Governor Nyong’os administration stated worrying concerns of the cross border infections, ordering for indefinite strict inter-county border surveillance.
The governor mentioned the plans to operationalize the clinical and case management taking cognizance of facility screening with holding Isolations in all county hospitals of Ahero, Muhoroni, Nyakach, Gita, Chulaimbo and Kombewa. Quarantine centers with 148 bed capacities and a COVID-19 dedicated 17 bed ICU facilities at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Referral Hospital scalable to 29 beds.
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.
Relief supplies worth 3.5 million was yesterday dispatched to 2,800 households at the evacuation centers in Nyando, Nyakach and Muhoroni.
While flagging off the supplies at the prosperity house, the Governor acknowledged the support received from well wishers that has made the county to serve a total of 8,276 households in the recent past.
The supplies included: rice, ugali flour, wheat flour, cooking oil,milk, uji flour, sugar, tea leaves, water guard, cabbages, potatoes, blankets and mosquito nets. The food items are meant to serve them for the next four days.
Noting with concern the great impact of destruction caused by the floods and the economic hardship resulting from Covid 19, Governor Nyong’o said that KECOSOC is currently working on a recovery strategy that will outline a road map on executing resilience and economic plan.
During the distribution of food items at Obiayo evacuation center in Ombeyi ward, the Governor assured the evacuees on the plans in place to open up river Nyando and that he has talked to national government to construct Soin dam that will be a lasting solution in mitigating floods in Nyando.
Concerning the back-flow of the Lake Victoria, he reiterated that it is the responsibility of the three presidents in East Africa:Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
He further stated that the concerned presidents can reach amicable solution with the advice from Dr. Matano, the Managing Director of Lake Basin Commission.
The Governor commended the members of the fourth estate for joining hands in highlighting the plight of humanity during the difficult times.
In Muhoroni sub county, the supplies were distributed among four centers namely: Achuodho Obiayo, Lailai and Kibigori
The Governor was flunked by his Deputy Dr. Mathew Owili, a host of CECs, Directorate of Special Programs led by Ruth Odinga, MCAs, Sub county Administrators, Ward Administrators, CSOs, the Media among other dignitaries.
World over, the COVID -19 has increasingly led to a drop off in global economy.
In Kisumu, the twin crises of the pandemic and the floods provide an opportunity to start thinking of the post pandemic.
“The effects of COVID-19 will live with us for a very long time after it has passed; leaving an economy in ruins; psychological trauma and imbalance and decimated livelihoods” Stated Kisumu Governor Prof. Nyong’o.
It is in this regard that Governor Nyong’o set up the Kisumu County Social and Economic Council (KECOSOC) who have been working on a recovery and reconstruction plan, to draw up Kisumu county post-COVID -19 and Flood strategy with the most affected sectors being Agriculture, transport and trade.
The council is set to provide the road map both in the short and long term in the areas of food resilience and jump-starting the stagnated economy.
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 Department of Cooperatives and Marketing under the leadership of Prof. Judith Miguda Attyang’ spearheaded the movement of our local traders who initially traded along the road sides into the newly constructed Awasi Market.
The market has a capacity to hold 88 stalls with additional 104 spaces for small vendors.
Hand washing tanks, sanitizer and face masks were distributed to the traders, this in line with the government measures on prevention of the Covid-19
About six hundred households in Nyamware, Ebeneza, Ayueyo Roman Catholic and Alendu primary evacuation centers today received food and non food items from the County Directorate of Special Programs in partnership with Kisumu Rescue Committee – a group of philanthropists from Kisumu Business Community.
The donations included: maize floor, sugar, cooking oil, salt, blankets, and jackets.
This brings the total number of households in evacuation camps who have received relief food from the Directorate of Special Programs to 2700 since the exercise began on 23rd April.
While addressing the evacuees, Madam Ruth Odinga urged them to make do with the donations they have received while a lasting solution to their challenges was being looked into.
She also cautioned the people against being swayed by politicians who want to use their situation to settle political scores.
By Emily Mikwa