Posted April 17, 2020 6:40 pm by

As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps across the World, the government is working hard to ensure Kenya’s cases do not skyrocket to monumental levels like what has been reported in countries like the US, Spain, Italy, and the United Kingdom. Medical and public health experts continue to warn us that if social distancing and other preventive measures are not sustained, COVID-19 infections could escalate exponentially, with deadly consequences.

Although the COVID-19 tally in Kenya so far remains far below the official projections of 5,000 cases by mid-April, we must upscale efforts to tame the pandemic.

Many Kenyans continue to abide by public health guidelines like social distancing, regularly washing hands and wearing masks. This notwithstanding, compliance in informal settlements, market places, and other crowded settings should be escalated to decrease the chances of community transmission of the virus.

The containment measures in force in the four counties with the highest infections – Nairobi, Mombasa, Kilifi, Kwale – will hopefully slow the transmission of COVID-19 to other parts of the country. The proposed targeted mass testing will give a clearer picture of the real situation on the ground thus informing more effective responses and outcomes.

All said sustained preventive measures will save many lives. Prevention is the first pillar in a four-pronged strategy underpinning Kenya’s resilience to COVID-19.

The other three pillars we must also focus on are financial resource mobilization, building local manufacturing capacity and protecting vulnerable groups.

Mobilizing adequate financial resources is crucial to supporting short-term interventions while easing pressure on the Exchequer. COVID-19 requires emergency funding on an unprecedented scale. This demands collaboration between the state, the private and civil sectors.

This is already happening through the Kenya COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund, a joint government-private sector initiative, which has so far raised over Sh1 billion to assist vulnerable groups. But as President Uhuru Kenyatta has directed, the Fund needs to be innovative and responsive to the evolving circumstances so as to effectively fulfill its mandate.

In addition, the country continues to receive financial support from multilateral agencies like the World Bank. Others like the African Development Bank and the Export-Import Bank have offered emergency credit lines.

Financial resources in the war against COVID-19 are also coming from unexpected sources. On April 7, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission handed over Sh2 billion seized from corruption suspects to the Treasury to boost the national COVID-19 Read More…