County governments just like the national government are reeling from harsh economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic that has ravaged many countries, leaving death and devastation in many sectors.
The pandemic has upended businesses, destroying livelihoods and triggering job losses. It has globally claimed 1.9 million lives– 411,520 of them Americans–out of the 90 million infected by virus said to have originated from China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology. In Kenya it has killed 1,734 people since March 13, 2020 when the first case was reported in the country, leading to closure of schools, churches and lockdown of suspected hotspots.
A number of vaccines including Oxford University’s AstraZeneca, US approved Pfizer-BioNTech and Russia’s Sputnik V among others have been manufactured to combat the virus. Kenya has itself received Astra Zeneca vaccine.
Unfortunately, this however, seems to be the reason that in some counties including Narok and Kajiado among others, some residents have thrown caution to the wind and behave as if the virus doesn’t exist.
What they don’t know is that even with the arrival of the vaccine, it is the frontline workers, medics, police and teachers who will be given priority for the voluntary vaccination.
The virus being no respecter of neither the high and mighty, nor lowly will continue to cause suffering in our midst. World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that even with the availability of the vaccine no country is likely to achieve herd immunity in less than one year, hence the need to continue with social distancing, frequent hand washing, use of sanitizers and wearing of face masks for some time. But like they say, every cloud has a silver lining. It has been noticed that there has been a remarkable decline in cases of hygiene related ailments in hospitals and health centres.
Narok County loses Sh864 million each year due to sanitation related diseases, according to County Director of Health, Dr Francis Kiio who spoke during this year’s Toilet Day celebration. The avoidable loss is due to cost of treating infections, such as diarrohea, dysentery, and lost man hours.
With Covid-19 variants continuing to pop up in countries like UK, South Africa among others, we can only let our guard down at our own peril.