BY PROF. DR. HALIMU SHAURI
(Dean; School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Pwani University
The revelation today by the Principal Secretary (PS) that it can cost over one million (Sh 1 million) shillings to take care of just one COVID-19 patient is something that should make us think twice in the way we have been behaving.
To give a little details of how I got this – one Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) goes for Sh20, 000. What is worth your attention is that one PPE is used only once per patient per session.
If a doctor will see the patient thrice in a day, that’s already Sh60, 000 gone. If the doctor is accompanied by a nurse for those three times, Sh120, 000 is gone for a single day. Wah! If this does not make you shiver! Then what will?
With these treatment costs before us, we should reflect how the situation would be if we don’t change our irresponsible and peculiar habits.I thought of Michael Joseph, the Safaricom boss, who said: “Kenyans have a peculiar calling habit”, some years back and later apologized for it. We learned a lesson!
Allow me to borrow and innovate the description above and say Kenyans have weird COVID-19 curfew and lockdown evading habits.
Surely, how can one collude with boda boda riders and sneak in and out of the locked hotspot counties: Nairobi, Mombasa, Kilifi and Kwale to evade police roadblocks.
Surely, how can the police manning roadblocks collude with irresponsible people with weird habits to cross in and out of these counties!
Surely, how can small change bribe or corruption motivate an officer charged with a responsibility of protecting all of us including themselves and family and relatives allow these people sneak in and out of locked counties!
Worse is the revelation that some people faked a funeral and carried a fake coffin with them all the way to Homabay! Surely, wonders never cease to happen.
These guys did not know that God works in mysterious ways. See now the driver of the vehicle they thought will take them there safely is reported to have tested positive of COVID-19.
The Almighty has a way of punishing weird habits. But see the damage these people and their accomplices, including security manning roadblocks have done to the people of Homabay who were just hearing or watching announcement of efforts to prevent corona!
Now it has been exported to them by some irresponsible Kenyans, shame on them.
The worst is the stories in the media that quarantined people break the social distance guideline in quarantine facilities.
Some sneaking at night to who knows become intimate! Surely, even in quarantine people don’t see how near they are to isolation and intensive care and are guided by their intimate feelings.
The power of the bottom must not deceive us during this time of fighting COVID-19. How can you take yourself to the virus! How much irresponsibility are you prepared to demonstrate!
Worst of the worst is the revelation by the CS Health Mutahi Kagwe that some bribed their way in and out of quarantine centres in Mandera.
I guess, given the popularity of Mugucu and Khat in the region, those in quarantine would want to sneak out for their doze.
But surely, those guarding these facilities and those bribing to sneak out must all be insane! Wait a minute, probably they don’t know why they are in quarantine or why those guarding are guarding them! If this is the case, then this is insanity of the highest order.
Quarantine is to ensure people don’t mix with others. It’s a period of staying away from the public.
A moment of reflection, of anxiety and of ensuring one observes themselves in relation to the COVID-19 signs and symptoms.
To sneak out and in the quarantine centre is a mockery of the measure to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and of the National Committee and the presidential order.
This only happens in Kenya, where we potray a weird picture to the world, that of I don’t care even when we are smelling death.
Impunity has taken some of us at a very dangerous low level. A level – that is not far from lower animals.
Finally, we must desist from doing these weird habits. When we wash hands, sanitize, maintain social distance, obey curfew and the cessation of movement in the hotspot counties, we are helping ourselves.
The war against COVID-19 will only be won if ALL of us comply. One weird habit jeopardizes the lives of the whole nation and the world.
Remember when COVID-19 started in Wuhan, China, it did not begin full blown but from and individual, then individuals, then into other countries and now a global problem.
That person was probably just like you. I strongly advise ourselves not to risk our lives and those of others via COVID-19 infections. Let’s be each other’s keeper by keeping safe and staying at home.