Stronger response needed to curb Covid-19 ravage, says MSF

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has warned that patients in Homa Bay County are at risk of succumbing to Covid-19 complications if a stronger response is not ramped up in the County.

According to MSF, there has been a surge in numbers of patients admitted at Homa Bay County Teaching and Referral Hospital (HBCTRH) due to Covid-19 which has more than doubled since early May.

In a press statement Saturday, Homa Bay MSF Project Coordinator, Ms. Roshni Mahida said the situation is getting grimmer by the day and currently close to half of the people we test at County Referral Hospital turn positive for Covid-19.

This situation forced the organization which currently manages the Isolation Centre at the County hospital to ramp up its response by setting up additional High Dependency Units (HDUs) in tents inside the Hospital’s compound to increase bed capacity to 32 from the initial 10.

She revealed that in the month of May, 98 patients with Covid-19 were admitted in the facility, adding that twenty patients died due to complications from the virus in that month.

The Coordinator further stated that all patients admitted into the facility are usually in severe to critical conditions with three out of four requiring oxygen therapy.

“To better respond to the surge in Covid-19 infections, we would like to see more Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), rapid diagnostic tests, medicines and oxygen backed-up,” she advised.

Since April 2021, MSF has been routinely testing all patients admitted into the medical in-patient wards to ensure continuity of appropriate care for both Covid-19 positive and negative patients requiring hospitalization.

For more than 10 weeks now, the number of patients turning positive for Covid-19 in Homa Bay has been increasing steadily, with the weekly average positivity rate reaching 50 per cent in the third week of June for patients tested at HBCTRH wards.

Amidst the already worrying situation, the healthcare workers’  ‘go-slow’ in the County to protest over delays in salary payment has been detrimental to the health sector.

As a result, patients have stopped going to the Hospital while MSF-supported in-patient wards for adult medicine, tuberculosis (TB) and Covid-19 remain open.

A 38-year-old, Helida Odhiambo, a Covid-19 patient also said, “Many people are sick out there but they think there are no services being offered at government facilities. The private hospitals are too expensive.”

She added that people only go to the Hospital when it is already too late.

“Most importantly, it is urgent to strengthen preventive measures by encouraging the community to adhere to Covid-19 measures, boost vaccine uptake and seek testing and early treatment,” advised Mahida.

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