Kenya denies reports of COVID-19 patients being turned away from hospitals

FILE PHOTO: Kenya’s Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry of Health Rashid Aman. COURTESY: TWITTER/Ministry of Health

The Kenyan government on Sunday denied reports that people infected with COVID-19 and are seeking medical attention were being turned away from health facilities.

Last month, Kenya began implementing its home-based isolation and care guidelines for COVID-19 patients to offer a solution in the management of increasing numbers and an anticipated surge in COVID-19 cases.

Dr. Francis Kuria, Head of Public Health, said that there were still beds available in health facilities across the country, including in the capital Nairobi, which is the worst hit area by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are not aware of patients being turned away but most of these cases, you are aware, are being managed under our home-based care protocols. Any case that may be turned away, we need to know because out duty of care is to avoid mortalities. Any cases that are being turned away, we need to be told where they are so we can respond appropriately,” Dr. Kuria said.

Kuria added that the government would give a detailed account of the bed capacity for COVID-19 patients for all the counties. Every county had been directed by President Uhuru Kenyatta to establish a 300-bed capacity.

“I think in the last summit, (it said) in the report that most counties are ready. So, presume that most counties actually have this bed capacity of 300 and some have even surpassed that number.  I know a few counties are having more than 300 beds,” Kuria said.

The government previously said that its health facilities were overwhelmed by the number of COVID-19 patients and it planned to have hospitals discharge COVID-19 patients who were asymptomatic to go and recover at home.

More than 75 percent of infected persons admitted in the country’s hospitals are either asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic and, therefore, can be managed at home, according to the government.

On Sunday, Kenya reported 309 confirmed cases, pushing its nationwide total to 7,886.