Ladies and Gentlemen of the press, Good afternoon.
Today, we have gathered here to assess our preparedness for Covid-19 and the facilities that we set aside as isolation wards in Mandera County Referral Hospital.
Mandera County Referral Hospital (MCRH) will be the nerve centre for the Coronavirus response for the county. The initial facility at the County Referral Hospital that is the first line of response, will have a 14-bed capacity. Though we have other gaps, in terms of bed, space and availability of oxygen, the facility is ready. Additionally, we have the rehabilitation centre with a 64-bed capacity in Mandera town. It’s preparations are at an advanced stage and it will be ready anytime soon. We have also prepared Kamor dispensary centre with a 47-bed capacity.
Besides the 14-bed isolation and response centre at MCRH, we also have additional infrastructure such as ICU and HDU facilities ready at the Accident and Emergency Unit. So far, we have fully equipped 10 ICU bed capacity and 5 HDU at MCRH and Elwak. We also have 8 fully trained ICU nurses at MCRH and 6 at Elwak besides other medical personnel to support the ICU. As part of our preparedness for Covid 19, MCG targets to have at least 335 beds ready in identified isolation wards and quarantine facilities across the county.
The isolation centres and quarantine facilities include
Mandera County Referral Hospital (Mandera East), Kamor Dispensary (Mandera East), Rehabilitation centre (Mandera East), Girisa (Mandera North), Banisa, Takaba (Mandera West), Elwak (Mandera South), Kutulo and Lafey. Another 15-bed quarantine facility has been established at KMTC.
So far we have 6 ventilators at the MCRH and 4 at Elwak Accident and Emergency Centre in Mandera South sub-county.
The ICU and HDU together with the isolation ward are all connected to 100% oxygen supply system and have been tested and ready for use. We have dedicated 87 health workers to the Covid-19 response across the county with 16 at MCRH, 12 at Girisa (Mandera North) 16 at Elwak, 10 at Kutulo, 15 at Takaba, 8 at Banisa and 10 at Lafey. These cadres include doctors, clinical officers, nurses, laboratory technicians, pharmaceutical technologists and support staff.
We already have one patient in our ward under observation, which is why we are not allowing any media and public inside the facility right now. This patient travelled to Mandera from Nairobi two days ago and at the screening level at the airstrip, it was observed that he had high temperature of 39 degrees which prompted the health personnel at the airstrip to pick and admit him at the isolation ward. Samples from this patient have been sent to Nairobi. As at now, other than the high fever, the medical personnel have not reported any other signs that conform to COVID-19. However, because we are not going to take chances, this patient is under isolation and is getting managed at the hospital as we wait for the test result from Nairobi.
I can confidently say that we have infrastructure in place but we require support in terms of additional beds, ventilators, Personal Protective Equipment, patient monitors, and most importantly health workers. The ICU and HDU require consultant physicians and more nurses to help contain the spread of the Coronavirus.
We also have a major gap which is not only applicable to Mandera but to many counties. That gap is lack of testing capacity to be able to identify whether or not the patients we suspect are COVID-19 positive.
As such, the nearest testing facility is 1,200 Kms away, in Nairobi as advised by the National Response Team. The turn around takes quite a bit of time which posses quite a challenge for us. The challenge is real for areas far flanked like Mandera that closely borders Somalia to a radius of 400-500kms and does not have capacity to respond effectively as well as southern Ethiopia which closely borders us with about the same radius without proper testing facilities for the same.
Both countries share more than 300Km borderline with us in Mandera. As such, we have grave concerns with respect to control of movement across the borders.
Since the start of our response measures, Mandera County health workers have screened 2,924 passengers who arrived by flight, 2309 travellers who arrived by road and 6,791 people at our internal border crossing points. We have fumigated 213 stalls in the market and 659 public areas within Mandera Municipality.
We understand the gravity of the issue, the weight and the challenge that is at hand for the entire country and the capacity challenges across the globe. Countries like America, Britain, Italy, Germany and the rest are complaining about capacity, PPEs, ventilators, masks and many other issues. Now you can only imagine for the third world country and worst of all for a place that has been neglected for many years in terms of capacity of healthcare facilities and supplies. These problems we share not in isolation but with many other counties with similar challenges.
With only 10 ventilators in the whole county and less than 3000 PPEs, the challenges are immense with respect to being able to say we are adequately prepared to respond to COVID-19. The sad part is that, while we are ready to purchase ventilators as well as certified masks and PPEs, there are no selling facilities in the country. We are entirely dependent upon the distribution through KEMSA and the National Government procurement system and other well-wishers that have responded to the appeal of the national government to see if something will trickle down to us. From today’s visit, our state of preparedness is fairly okay under the sad circumstance and we hope for the best as we continue pushing InshaAllah.
Governor Ali Roba’s remarks when he visited Covid-19 isolation wards at MCRH
Ladies and Gentlemen of the press, Good afternoon.