Kenyans step up community fight against COVID-19 via sanitation


One by one, residents passed through a sanitation booth placed at Kitengela bus terminus, south of Nairobi, on Tuesday morning.

The rush was palpable since a majority of the people were going to their places of work or businesses.

But they had the patience to wait for their turns to sanitize at the booth placed at the main entrance of the terminus and later wash their hands before entering the dozens of public transport vehicles known as matatus to ferry them to the city center.

The booth is the latest sanitation measure to be erected at the terminus in the fight against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), with the county government of Kajiado having started with handwashing points.

At the outbreak of the disease in March, most organizations, individuals and county governments in the East African country only focused on handwashing, use of sanitizers and later the wearing of masks.

But as the cases of COVID-19 in Kenya hit 715 on Tuesday, more measures are being undertaken to step up the fight at the community level.

Most organizations with several employees have now installed the sanitation booths, with workers and visitors expected to pass through the gadgets before getting in and out.

“It is mandatory for all employees to use the sanitation booth while coming in and out. It was installed two weeks ago,” Godfrey Masinde, an employee of a bakery on the east of Nairobi said, adding that they still wash hands, keep social distance and wear masks.

The company has also printed various messages on how to combat the virus including washing hands and wearing masks and pasted them at strategic places to constantly remind the workers what they need to do, said Masinde.

At Elgon Kenya, an agro-input distributor, similarly, all workers and visitors pass through a sanitation booth to curb the spread of the virus, a measure instituted two weeks ago.

The sanitation booths have been embraced by tens of organizations in the East African nation as they seek to keep the virus at bay.

Besides the booths, most organizations have also embraced thermometer (thermo) guns to check people’s temperatures as they enter their premises.

Commercial banks and supermarkets are leading in the implementation of the measure, which targets to pick out anyone with temperatures above 37.5 degrees Celsius, one of the symptoms of COVID-19.

“You cannot get in without me getting your temperature. Yes, you have your mask and have washed your hands but this is the new rule,” a guard at a Kenya Commercial Bank branch in Nairobi informed a man who was protesting on Monday.

Some public transport vehicles, restaurants and most of the hospitals are also using the thermo guns to check peoples’ temperatures in the fight against COVID-19.

Ernest Manuyo, a lecturer at Pioneer Institute in Nairobi, noted that over half the fight against the spread of the disease is won at the community.

“It is in the community that the disease spreads thus must be contained at that level. If people wear masks and don’t know their temperature or sanitize, then half the war is being fought,” he said.

Most of the infections currently being recorded in Kenya are community transmission, which means a patient has no known contact with a person who traveled from a country badly affected by the pandemic, according to the Health Ministry. Enditem


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