The confirmation of three Coronavirus cases in Kenya clearly indicates the risk the country is in.
Like many other counties, Kilifi has a number of high risk areas the government should make sure care is taken to avoid spreading the deadly Covid-19 virus.
These are areas where many people congregate either for business or other services.
1. Bamba livestock market
Bamba trading centre in Ganze Sub County hosts the largest livestock market in the region. Over 3000 people from as far as Garissa converge at the Bamba auction yard every Wednesday to sell or buy livestock.
As a result of the high number of people, other businesses including eating joints are conducted on that day. Businessmen from all the coast counties and beyond attend the market.
It is sad to not that the area has no proper sanitation plans. The market has only one pit latrine without water. This is a high risk area considering the number of people who interact at the market.
2. Open air markets
Mkoroshoni and Tezo open air markets attract quite a good number of people on Saturday and Monday respectively.
Both markets have no sanitation facilities. For the many years the markets have existed, the government has not been able to provide a toilet. The government is left with suspending all the activities at the market or provide sanitizers. The latter is next to impossible considering the high number of people attending the markets and their attitude.
3. Health facilities
Health facilities across the country are high risk areas too.
Though the county announced that people who develop symptoms of the Virus should not visit hospitals but should wait for health care providers to visit them at home, many people visit these facilities for various reasons. The preparedness of the healthcare providers is still in question as some other sub counties do not have isolation rooms.
The level of information on the epidemic especially in rural areas which form the larger part of the county is still low.
4. Social gatherings
The county banned social gatherings as a precautionary measure to contain the spread of the Coronavirus. This was done in good faith but Kilifi people are social people and love each other.
It is a tall order to control the number of people to attend a burial. And as the Mijikenda burial dictates, after the burial a seven day funeral must follow. The climax of the seven day celebration is the fifth or sixth day when several goats are slaughtered.
5. GK Prisons and police stations
These are government installations that record quite a good number of citizens either serving jail terms or waiting to be arraigned in courts. Most of these cells are overcrowded and for the police things may be worse bearing in mind that court services have been suspended.
6. Mnazi drinking dens and pubs
Mangwes as commonly known are still operating with many revelers washing away their sorrows in the local palm wine. Sanitizers and hand washing is not observed in most of these dens.
The government has a duty of making sure people do not run out of food by staying indoors and also containing the spread of the virus. Closing the markets is a good idea but what will the traders eat?
The county has set up five corona virus isolation centres.
Kilifi CEC for health Anisa Omar said they identified specific hospitals which have been converted to isolation wards.
St Luke’s Hospital will serve Rabai and Kaloleni Sub Counties while Malindi and Magarini will have an isolation centre at Msena Private Clinic which has enough space and will be fully equipped. In kilifi North the CEC have identified two wards.