COVID-19(Corona virus disease 2019) is a disease caused by SARS coronavirus 2 which is believed to have originated from Wuhan, China around December 2019. The WHO director-general declared it a public health emergency of international concern on 30th January 2020. On 11th March 2020, the WHO director-general declared COVID-19 a pandemic. This means that it was an epidemic occurring worldwide, over a wide area, and crossing international boundaries.
COVID-19 is a highly contagious respiratory illness which is spread by saliva and other bodily fluids and secretions. These fluids can form small droplets and aerosols which can be spread as an infected person sings, speaks coughs, or sneezes. It is believed to be spread by direct contact and even believed to be spread via fomites(contaminated surfaces). Common symptoms include
cough, fever, fatigue, difficulty breathing, and loss of taste and smell. However, many people are asymptomatic and even they
can spread the disease.
In Kenya, the first confirmed case was recorded on 13th March 2020 in Nairobi county. Over the weeks to follow, various public health measures were put in place to contain the spread of the disease. The public health advisories given like physical distancing,
wearing of masks, avoiding crowded places, regular hand sanitization, and screening of body temperature in public places were based on the scientific evidence of how the disease spread. There was also a curfew put in place to limit people gathering.
Given that most cases were believed to be in Nairobi and Mombasa counties, there were containment measures to
limit people moving in and out of these jurisdictions.
From left to right: Dr Muchunu Gachau KAKC Deputy Secretary, Dr Kamundia Ndung’u Chief Officer – Health Services, Dr Jesse
Ngugi Medical Superintendent Thika Level 5 Hospital, Hon. Solomon Kinuthia MCA Ndenderu Ward and Chairperson County Assembly Health Committee, Augustine Gatimu Acting Director Nursing Services as they received 45 non-contact infrared Thermoguns donated by KAKC on 18th May 2020
The Nairobi metropolitan which was defined as an area where only essential goods and service providers would move in and out of was extended into Kiambu county. Hence the number of COVID-19 confirmed cases in Kiambu county was almost reflecting the numbers in Nairobi county. This called for heightened screening of people moving into and out of the Nairobi metropolitan via
roadblocks placed in Kiambu county. Most of these roadblocks were manned by law enforcement officers and public health officers.
The public health officers were required to screen people moving into and out of the Nairobi metropolitan by asking questions related to the common symptoms of COVID-19 and also checking their body temperature. The screening was also expected to be conducted in all health facilities for all patients seeking care in order to ensure any person who fitted the case description was isolated early enough and managed appropriately to avoid further spread of the disease within the health facilities.
For the effective screening of people for COVID-19 non-contact thermometers were needed in plenty. KAKC given the nature of the pandemic, was able to change some of the activities that had been planned earlier in the year to focus on containment of the spread of COVID-19. It was through this initiative that KAKC managed to donate 45 noncontact infrared thermometers on 18th May 2020 which went a long way in assisting the Kiambu county department of health to enhance their COVID-19 screening and assist in containing the further spread of the disease in the community.
World Health Organization (WHO) first declared COVID-19 to be a public health emergency of international concern on 30 January 2020 and subsequently declared it a pandemic on 11 March 2020. The first confirmed case in Kenya was reported on 13th March 2020. Vihiga County recorded its first case on 7th June 2020 from a client who visited the hospital for other health care services but was picked up upon temperature screening for further evaluation and covid-19 testing. As at 20/11/202, Vihiga County had registered a total of 98 cases of Covid-19 with one death from a health worker! Fever and respiratory disorders are common symptoms of COVID-19, typically appearing 2-14 days after exposure.
The key to containing this virus is to break the chains of transmission. Among the measures in place to try to ensure COVID-19 doesn’t spread is temperature monitoring, or temperature checks: using infrared thermometers or thermal cameras to identify if a person has a fever and therefore might be infected with the coronavirus. Such clients with fever and respiratory symptoms are temporarily separated from the rest, evaluated and if they meet the case definition for covid-19 are then subjected to the covid-19 test. The advantage of the non-contact device is that it can quickly measure and display a temperature reading so a large number
of people can be evaluated individually at points of entry to public places and health facilities. The non-contact infrared
thermometers require minimal cleaning between uses and almost zero risk of spread of covid-19 and other infectious
organisms as would occur with contact thermometers!
To effectively break the chain of transmission and keep Vihiga residents free from Covid-19, the County Government of Vihiga in strict compliance with Ministry of Health (MOH) protocols on Covid-19 containment measures instituted various mitigation strategies: Temperature Screening at county entry borders, enforcement of wearing of masks, hand washing with soap and water, use of sanitizers, social distancing among other measures. This presented a big challenge as most of the personal protective
equipment (PPEs) and Thermo-guns were in scarce supply and therefore very expensive. KOICA’s donation of 45 Thermoguns
to the County Government of Vihiga supplemented the Government’s effort to ensure each health facility and busy public office building had a screening point complete with a thermo-gun and were therefore very timely and a huge relief to the department of health.