Media, religious leaders urged to play role in Covid-19 fight

Participants during stakeholders meeting held in Lumakanda

Media and religious leaders have been asked to work closely with the ministry of health in the war against the deadly Coronavirus.

Speaking during a health stakeholders forum held at Homelady guest house in Lumakanda that brought together religious leaders, media practitioners and officials from the ministry of health, Lugari Sub county Medical Officer of Health Dr. Patrick Ndambuki identified the two as major stakeholders in the fight against the pandemic.

He said the media has been following every step since the outbreak of the virus in the country with multiple stories, incessant headlines and continuous updates and can play a key role in containing COVID-19 and, potentially, saving lives.

He said the media has really played a big role in passing information saying when you compare the amount known about the virus when it first emerged to the amount known now, including its clinical progression and the at-risk demographics it is really commendable.

Dr. Ndambuki urged journalists and media organizations to do their utmost to keep up to date with the pandemic using reliable information from respective health departments and that they should fact-check information in order to remain a trusted source.
With challenges of social media that misinform the public on the COVID-19, the MOH appealed to the trusted media organizations to help in correcting it.

“It is important that trusted media sources don’t just ignore misinformation spread on social media but attempt to counter it for the benefit of the audience and public,” said Ndambuki.

In addition to news items reported, Dr.  Ndambuki said the media should offer practical information to audiences like relevant local telephone numbers for healthcare services or advice on protective measures like social distancing, regularly hand washing,  encourage using of masks among others

He said trusted media house could help inform the public on the advices coming from broader governing bodies that they may otherwise not hear.

He said same applied to religious leaders who are also respected and therefore useful in passing the message to their followers.

Elsewhere Dr.  Ndambuki disclosed Lugari Sub County had so far not recorded any corona positive case since the outbreak.

However he said at least 46 people in the sub county had been put under quarantine with 26 being released after results proved negative. He said Lugari Sub County Covid-19 Emergency Response Committee (SCCERC) had put up a number of preventive measures to curb the spread of the virus.

Among the measures he said they had put up screen center at Spring park and Magut along Webuye – Eldoret highway to check and screen passengers entering the sub county using vehicles beside encouraging resident to strictly adhere to other government directives.