Dr Aman: Sickle Cell patients vulnerable to coronavirus

Kenyans with underlying health conditions have been urged to be extra careful to reduce their chance of contracting coronavirus.

Speaking at Afya House when he issued the daily update on Covid-19, Health CAS Rashid Aman (pictured) also brought attention to sickle cell patients as the world celebrated those living with the condition.

He was with Health Ag Director General Patrick Amoth, who said people with cancer and HIV are especially vulnerable.

Sickle Cell (SC) is a genetic disease characterised by a mutation of the red cells resulting into blockage of small blood vessels. Individuals with SC often experience pain, risk of recurrent infection and other serious infections.

Dr Aman reiterated that those living with SC are at a higher risk of contracting coronavirus due to their impaired immunity resulting from the blood disorder.

Other than implementing the government’s directives on stopping Covid-19 spread, SC patients have further been advised to stock medication that would last them up to one month.

Each year about 240,000 children in Africa are born with SC disease. In Kenya, about 6,000 are born with the disease, and between 50pc-80pc do not live to celebrate their fifth birthday.

Interventions to control the disease include prompt diagnosis, provision of management, screening and genetic counselling.

Dr Aman said the Health ministry has developed guidelines on care at the health facilities and in the communities, which will be rolled out soon, to combat SC  disease.

The CAS lauded Novatis and the Sickle Cell Federation of Kenya for their efforts in creating awareness.

Meanwhile, 117 people tested positive for coronavirus in the latest testing drive, pushing the national tally to 4, 374.

Some 52 cases were reported in Nairobi, with eight from Kibra.

The slum area has come under close scrutiny as the Health ministry insists on social distancing and proper hygiene.

But questions have been asked on the practicability of applying the rule in the slum areas, where homes are close together and clean water supply not always guaranteed.

Dr Aman cautioned increased cases in suburban areas of Lavington, Kileleshwa and Hurlngham, where he said young people flouting the rules are hurting gains made in containing the virus.

“These activities are being conducted with little regard to the containment measures.”

The activities in question include house parties and get-togethers, which he said are still prohibited.

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