Mass testing for COVID-19 begins in Kawangware

Mass testing for COVID-19 begins in Kawangware

Mass testing for COVID-19 kicked off in Kawangware, Nairobi on Friday morning.

The Health Ministry said mass testing is essential for tracking down cases with symptoms; identifying their household cluster and tracing people they’ve contacted & quarantining them until they are no longer infectious.

“Kawangware is an area under surveillance. We have identified markets as one of the areas of transmission…

“We will deploy surveillance team to different zones so to interact with public, ensure social distancing, show people correct ways of putting on masks,” Health CAS Mercy Mwangangi said on Wednesday.

“We are also looking at ways that will enable mama mboga to continue with her trade but at the same time adhere to social distancing,” Dr. Mwangangi added.

— Hot 96 FM Kenya (@Hot_96Kenya) May 1, 2020

Reports indicate that so far, 13 people form Kawangware have contracted coronavirus.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said the mass testing exercise will help to identify members of community who have contracted the COVID-19 disease, enable them to seek treatment and curtail the spread of the virus.

Residents from Kawangware queueing for testing. PHOTO | MOH
Residents from Kawangware queueing for testing on May 1, 2020. PHOTO | MOH

Kawangware, where voluntary testing rolled out, is an area where social distancing can be a challenge, according to Ministry of Health official Lydia Mudeyo.

“The social distancing in this area is difficult and therefore it is advisable for the government and the ministry as a whole to take the initiative of educating the common mwananchi [referring to an ordinary citizen] on how to do the hand washing and the social distancing and that is why we decided, first of all, to do the mass testing in this area so that it can advise us on the outbreak in this area,” Mudeyp said.

If they test negative, residents of Kawangware hope they stand a better chance of finding jobs in the impoverished African country.

“I am very happy because I know my status now and my family will be safe and also when I go to look for work elsewhere, since I am a hotelier, I know things will be good,” Monica Wairimu, a Kawangware resident who was among those tested.

Wairimu said that due to the coronavirus outbreak, her business has drastically declined and as the COVID-19 hit the country, she was selling a quarter of what she used to.

Additional report from VOA