Bungoma residents fear going to hospitals due to Covid-19 pandemic

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Bungoma Health CEC Dr. Anthony Walela

The number of patients going to seek medical services in Bungoma County hospitals has declined due to the fear of contracting Coronavirus.

Majority of the residents who spoke to West Media said that they fear going to hospitals thinking that they can contract Coronavirus and they opt to buy drugs in chemists in case they fall sick.

“I can’t go to the hospital now even if my wife, children or anybody in my family falls sick. Nowadays I just buy drugs from chemists then anyone who is sick in my house takes them instead of going to hospital,” said one of the residents.

They stated that when they seek medication in hospitals across the County they have to be screened to establish whether they exhibit Coronavirus symptoms, and they fear being placed in quarantine incase they have fever.

“Since the first Coronavirus case was announced in Kenya I’ve never stepped in hospital because, when you reach there, you have to be screened. Perhaps you have a headache, or flu or a fever, and these symptoms resemble Coronavirus symptoms. Due to this, you may be taken to Mbagathi Hospital in Nairobi. How will I survive there yet my family depends on me?” posed another resident.

One unnamed resident said they fear contracting the disease while in hospital, “Nowadays we just buy drugs or use traditional medicine because when I go to the hospital I can’t tell if the person who’ll be sitting close to me has Corona or not. Therefore, I can’t go to any hospital and contract Covid-19.”

Bungoma County Health Executive Committee Chairperson Dr. Anthony Walela confirmed that the number of patients who had sought medical attention in the month of April has gone down as compared to the month of March.

“It is true since March this year when the first case of Coronavirus was announced in Kenya the number of patients started going down slowly, but this month the number has drastically gone down. If we compare the number of patients since January we had more than 20,000, same to February. Numbers in March have also gone down and today the number is 8,500. You can tell from this figure that patients are not seeking medical services in hospitals,” said Dr. Walela.

Dr. Walela urged Bungoma residents to go to hospitals whenever they fall sick as he added that in case one exhibits the Coronavirus symptoms the patient will be examined fully to establish whether they are suffering from Covid -19 or they have other sicknesses.

“Our people might be having fears that when they go to hospitals they can contract Coronavirus and this is not true. What we are doing is screening any person who enters the hospital premises and by doing so we get to know who is sick and who is not. When a patient exhibits Covid-19 symptoms we don’t rule that is he or she is positive but we do a thorough examination to establish the kind of sickness he or she could be suffering from,” he explained, “Therefore I urge Bungoma County residents to seek medication in our hospitals whenever they fall sick and stop suffering while at home.”