Kenyans Urged To Maintain Hygiene During Festive Season

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Kenya's Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha has challenged Kenyans to observe good personal hygiene practices during the festive season in the wake of emerging health threats.

While briefing the media on the Ministry of health's achievements over the last one hundred days, the health CS said increased activities and interactions could lead to an increased rate of transmission of infectious diseases, especially COVID-19, Cholera, and the Ebola virus disease, which has been reported in a neighbouring country, if appropriate public health measures are not adhered to.

"We are cognizant of the fact that there will be increased movement of people, with many travelling as families for reunions and social gatherings both locally and internationally. As we continue to enjoy this festive season, we need to keep ourselves safe. My Ministry will continue supporting efficient disease surveillance and response," said CS Nakhumicha.

She said the government has put in place a raft of measures to mitigate against the spread of epidemic-prone diseases and reduce the number of Cholera cases and potential fatalities.

The measures include the issuance of a cholera alert to all Healthcare workers highlighting the importance of early detection, confirmation, and management of suspected cases while coordinating a whole government and multi-agency approach per disease outbreak management practices.

She called on the public to ensure frequent hand washing and sanitization at all times, and wearing of facemasks in confined spaces, go to the nearest designated health facilities to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or get a booster dose.

County Governments and all other stakeholders have also been urged to enhance risk communication and community engagement on COVID-19 and Cholera to effect social behaviour change.

"Everyone has a role to play in creating a safe environment for all of us.
I am also urging Kenyans to continue adhering to the public health and social measures as a personal responsibility. Our health should be our priority," said Nakhumicha.

She said the Ministry of Health has prioritized local manufacturing of quality health products and technologies, including pharmaceuticals, vaccines, and other bio-medicals, which will ensure the sufficiency of essential medicines and health products for the country's healthcare facilities in keeping with the promise of promoting local enterprise.

"We are working closely with partners towards the setting up of a human vaccine production industry at Tatu City by Moderna, that is expected to break ground in March 2023," added the CS.

The Ministry of Health has also developed the Electronic Kenya Quality Model for Health as the country's framework for ensuring quality care is delivered per the set norms and standards. The system will allow health facilities to do a self-assessment and health inspections and form a basis for strategic purchasing of services pegged on the quality of care.

The model will also be used for identifying centres of excellence in service delivery for awards and recognition based on the Kenya Quality Model for Health (KQMH) scoring system.

As part of deliberate efforts to improve healthcare delivery, the CS said the Ministry is already working on closer collaboration with the County governments to incentivize nearly 90,000 community health workers already identified and serving in primary healthcare networks across the country.

This even as she urged professional associations and labour unions in the health sector to embrace positive dialogue, saying it is only by working together that the country can achieve solutions to the numerous challenges that bedevil the health sector.

"Therefore, I implore doctors and indeed the entire health workforce to be empathetic during this festive season as we engage the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union on the strike notice issued by the Union. My office has already initiated conversations around the issues raised by KMPDU and I am persuaded that we will find a common ground as patriots serving one nation," reiterated Nakhumicha.

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