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  • Writer's pictureCindy Lithimbi-Ondego

COVID19 in Kenya: MombasaWorks measures and other relevant resources

Over the weekend, Kenya reported its first 3 cases of COVID19. So far these are limited to Nairobi. But we are doing the little we can to play our part in curbing the spread of the virus.

We are taking the following measures:

  • So far, all external meetings and events that were scheduled to take place in/outside the space over the next few weeks have been postponed. This includes M'asaSupu Night and Founders.

  • Alcohol-based hand sanitisers are available at our ‘reception’ desk – please do use it.

  • We will continue to disinfect the space, now twice a day: desks, chairs and all door handles; and the space will be aired in the morning and evenings in line with recommendations on air hygiene.

  • We've provided disinfectant and disposable tissue for users to disinfect their own workspaces as well.

  • We have provided disposable face tissues on the desks.

  • We are actively advising our members and other users of the space (as well as us as staff) to avoid entering the space if feeling unwell and/or showing symptoms; or if anyone they live with is unwell and/or showing symptoms.

Some Resources

We’re providing a few relevant resources (with their date of publication) so you can be up-to-date and play your part in reducing the spread and of the virus.

  1. Suspending travel for all non-citizens/resident card holders coming into Kenya from any country with reported Coronavirus cases;

  2. Obligatory self-quarantining for anyone who has come into Kenya over the last 14 days (showing symptoms or not);

  3. Suspending learning in all learning institutions. See the full list of measures in the statement.

  • The latest research on the virus from the UK and USA (16 March 2020). First, a ScienceMagazine paper that estimates most COVID19 infections are undocumented and unidentified because they experience no, or only mild, symptoms; and the second (Imperial College) models outcomes based on two different policy options: mitigation and suppression. Because COVID19 has only recently arrived on the continent, all the data is based on the virus in Asia, Europe and USA.

  • Health advice on COVID19 prevention from the Ministry of Health (15 March 2020 via Twitter)

  • Here is a useful glossary of terms that will help you understand how the world is dealing with the viral outbreak. It includes the difference in the types of masks available too. Though almost all retailers in Kenya are currently out of stock. We've checked with MyDawa and Pharmacy Links (Links Plaza, Nyali) and they are both expecting them in store any day now. Here is a useful article by AfricaCheck on the data around the effectiveness of (different types) masks amid the global shortage.

  • Early on, there was lot of confusion around what COVID19 symptoms might look like. The CDC lists the official symptoms as a fever, cough and shortness of breath/difficult breathing. However, evidence is showing that some people who have tested positive have not shown any symptoms. See here (16 March 2020) and here (15 March 2020). This is probably why the most important thing is for each and every person to take personal responsibility.

  • On testing: to be able to get a COVID19 test for free, you must meet the case definition (symptoms and travel history), be referred by a doctor and have it approved by the Ministry of Health. I'm not privy to any self-elected testing service available yet in any public or private medical facility. Lancet Kenya are aiming to avail this by April 2020.

  • Ultimately COVID19 will be our collective fight build on our individual responsibility. There is concensus that the impact of COVID19 will be determined by our capacity as individuals to change our behaviour. The British infectious disease specialist Graham Medley puts it well: “Most people have a fear of acquiring the virus. I think a good way of doing it, is to imagine you do have the virus and change your behaviour so that you are not transmitting it. Don’t think about changing your behaviour so you won’t get it, but think about changing your behaviour so you don’t give it to someone else”. Here is a link to the full interview which aired on 12 March 2020.

I think a good way of doing it, is to imagine you do have the virus and change your behaviour so that you are not transmitting it.
  • Health advice on self-quarantining from the Ministry of Health (16 March 2020)

  • Tired of all the misinformation online? From AfricaCheck: "The World Health Organization says that the outbreak has been accompanied by an “infodemic“: “an over-abundance of information – some accurate and some not – that makes it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they need it”. They've put together a live-guide of all the COVID19 fact checks they've done, including things that are actually true (but you wouldn't have thought so).

  • And finally, what to do with kids home from school? This Nairobi-based vlogger has put together a useful thread of locally-relevant educational resources to keep your littles ones productive at home.

MombasaWorks will remain open for now, but we will continue to monitor the situation closely. Any updates and closures will be shared via our social media channels and mailing list.

Stay safe, stay responsible, everyone. Our prayers are with those who are affected worldwide.

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