This is Dr. Kebba Jobarteh. CEO of Antara Health.
As Coronavirus cases spread throughout Kenya, here are some recommendations we think will be helpful in this difficult time. I have tried to pay attention to the reality of life in Kenya and provide recommendations that are practical while at the same time in line with the CDC, WHO and GoK guidelines.
The most common symptoms of COVD19 are cough and fever although many people also have fatigue, sore throat and overall body aches and pains. It also appears that a large number of people infected with Coronavirus lose there sense of taste and smell (temporarily). The most concerning symptom is difficulty breathing, and anyone experiencing difficulty breathing in conjunction with a cough and fever MUST seek immediate care.
If you are an Antara member, call your Health Navigator immediately and s(he) will arrange your next steps. If you are NOT an Antara member, call the CORONAVIRUS HOTLINE:
0729 471 414, 0732 353 535 or toll free @ 0800 721 316.
Contact with Suspected/Confirmed Coronavirus case
If you have been in contact with a suspected or confirmed Coronavirus case, then the recommendation is 14 days of self-isolation. Click here for recommendations on self-isolation.
So, if you have no symptoms and no known contact with a suspected or confirmed Coronavirus case, what do you do? Read on!
Wash Your Hands with soap and water regularly. An ALCOHOL-based hand rub is also effective.
- When washing your hands, be thorough! Make sure you have a proper lather. Take at least 20 seconds. Pay extra attention to under your fingernails.
- Make regular hand-washing a part of your routine. For example, do so:
- Every time you enter a building; before you eat; as the first thing you do when you enter your home.
Wear a mask when you leave the home or are in contact with people you do not share a household with
- A mask protects others from you
- Since asymptomatic infection is an important source of infection, we must assume that we pose an infection risk to others. If everyone makes this assumption and wears a mask, then new infection rates will decline, as has been seen in many cities and regions around the world
Practice Social Distancing.
- Social distancing refers to measures that are taken to increase the physical space between people to slow the spread of the virus
- Please stop shaking hands, greeting with kisses on the cheek, etc...
- Instead, try to wave, bow, put your hand over your heart, touch elbows, or other safer forms of saying hello
- Avoid large gatherings of people: sporting events, churches, parties, etc...
Avoid Touching Your Face.
- ...and especially your eyes, nose and mouth whenever you might be outside your home or around other people. This behavior is reflexive, meaning we often do it without even noticing. Try your best to be more aware.
Keep at least 2-meters between you and anyone coughing, sneezing or who appears unwell.
Cough or sneeze in your bent elbow.
- This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow when sneezing. Avoid coughing into your hands.
Keep the Windows Open, where possible
Clean Frequently Touched Surfaces and Objects
- These can include countertops, doorknobs, railings, kitchen counters, and phones
- Prop open doors to minimize unnecessary contact
- Each surface or object should be cleaned at least 3 times per day
- Wash your hands thoroughly and often with soap and water
- If you don’t have access to running water, here’s an easy way to make your own hand sanitizer at home
- Here is an easy way to make your own disinfectant at home. (9 parts water, 1 part bleach. That's it. So easy it didn't even need a link)
For elderly loved ones
- If possible, minimize your elderly loved ones’ exposure to people in the community. But please remember: social interactions are a very important component of mental health for the Elderly.
- Protect them, but don't shut them completely away
- Keep people with symptoms, even mild ones, away from the elderly. That frequently means grandchildren and loved ones.
- If Caregivers or family can do something for them that limits exposure then do it (ie: shopping, getting water, going to the pharmacy etc.)
- Avoid potentially infectious situations
- Have a low index of suspicion for seeking medical care
If You Live in Flats or Apartments:
- Use the stairs instead of the lift when possible
- If you press buttons, use your knuckles or something other than your fingers
- Keep the windows open in your home, if possible (though be mindful to the risk to small children)
- With your fellow residents, establish a protocol of regular disinfection of surfaces in public spaces such as doors, countertops, mailboxes etc.
- Keep doors open where possible to avoid the need to touch door knobs
- Work Remotely, if at all possible
- Make Sure Hand Sanitizer or Handwashing is Widely Available. At least 60% alcohol strength sanitizer should be easily accessible throughout the office/workplace
- Keep the Windows Open, where possible
- Clean Frequently Touched Surfaces and Objects. These can include desks, doorknobs, railings, countertops, computer keyboards, and phones. Each surface or object should be cleaned at least 3 times per day
- Ask Your Employer what to do if there is a suspected case in the office/workplace
- Ask Your Employer what to do if a confirmed COVD19 infection happens in the workplace
Getting to Work
When in a Matatu:
- Wear a mask
- Minimize touching surfaces with your hands. Don’t touch or grab things you don’t have to
- Don’t touch your face
- Make sure the windows are open
- Try to pay with M-Pesa and avoid handling cash. Safaricom has waived all MPesa fees for transaction less than KES 1000, so don’t worry about the fees
- If there is someone coughing or sneezing, distance yourself from that person or take the next Matatu
- Wash your hands or sanitize as quickly as possible after disembarking from the Matatu
- When possible, walk, as it minimizes exposure risk and is great exercise
In Your Community:
- Don’t panic, don’t discriminate, don’t accuse
- Your Community Is Your Strongest Support Network and this is a moment in which we must come together to support one another
- Be the voice of reason.
- Make A Plan for how to minimize exposure to people who are ill and avoid situations in which you are exposed to large numbers of people
- Confer With Community Leaders around strategies to implement temporary social distancing measures
- Support community members at risk for severe illness and help them minimize infectious risk
Frequently asked questions:
Should I wear a mask?
Yes. Any time you are with people other than your immediate family, you should wear a mask. Even when outside, wearing a mask will protect you and those around you.
Can I get Coronavirus from someone without any symptoms?
Can I get Coronavirus from stool?
It is unlikely. The virus doesn’t survive the gastrointestinal tract well.
Can my baby get Coronavirus from me?
The Coronavirus has so far not been detected in amniotic fluid, cord blood, neonatal throat swab or breast milk.
Can I get Coronavirus from a pet?
No. But, if you have a confirmed or suspected coronavirus infection, please give someone else the task of caring for your pets or livestock.
Is there a cure for coronavirus?
In most cases, the body’s immune system eventually overcomes the virus. However, there currently is no medical cure. There IS supportive treatment for people with severe illness. That consists of close monitoring, hydration, oxygen support and in severe cases respiratory assistance, steroids, antivirals and some other experimental therapies that are under investigation..
Is there a vaccine?
Yes. Please see our vaccine article for details.
Can I treat Coronavirus with Antibiotics?
No. The coronavirus is not treated by antibiotics. There are several trials underway right now looking at a combination of anti-viral medication and corticosteroids, but the results are not yet available. So as of today, there is no medical treatment for COVID19.
What Will Happen if I get infected?
Please remember that most people who are infected with the coronavirus recover quickly. A small percentage require hospitalization and an even smaller percentage require intensive care. Call your Health Navigator if you have any symptoms and we will make sure you get to the right place.