NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 23 – The World Health Organisation (WHO) has commended Kenya’s handling of the AH1N1 virus outbreak.
WHO Country Representative Dr David Okello said the government had managed to contain the situation and that Kenya was better off compared to other developing countries.
“Kenya has got the capacity to test any case and has been doing that. This problem is not just in Kenya and your system is handling it adequately well; the government should now focus on other threatening issues,” he said.
Coming at a time when Kenyan high school principals were meeting in Nairobi to discuss the viral infections institutions, Dr Okello said that the virus in the country was nothing to worry about as it was relatively mild.
“We have people who have had the virus but they recovered without any treatment. Swine flu could easily pass for a normal flu and at this point in time, the cases are not killing people,” he stated.
The WHO boss also expressed fear that the virus could mutate leading to a catastrophe. He also asked Kenya to remain vigil promising that the creation of a vaccine to prevent infection was underway.
“This disease is evolving and it could change and become more virulent. We need to be aware that there is a new infection. Our real protection would be a vaccine and it is being processed,” he said.
Speaking at the official opening of the inter-regional seminar for quality control programmes, Dr Okello noted that the virus was spreading at an alarming rate stating that the fact that it was air borne, facilitated its spread.
“It is like any other flu bug. If infected people sneeze near you, you will get infected. So the public needs to be educated and sensitized on the need to maintain high personal hygiene and if you are sick stay at home,” he noted.
Also present at the function was the Permanent Secretary for Medical Services, Prof James Ole Kiyiapi who said that the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation, was the only public office with the authority to divulge information on the virus.
“They are the only ones who should communicate that information to interested parties in order to prevent confusion among the public,” he declared.
He also said that the government was going to make it virtually impossible for counterfeit drugs to get into the Kenyan market stating that the only way the country would achieve its Vision 2030 was by having a healthy nation.
“In view of the fact that good health is a pre-requisite for a productive labour force, Kenya cannot achieve Vision 2030 without ensuring quality medical services for its citizens. Social and human capitals are at the core of sustainable development,” he observed.
He added that Kenya currently has two quality control laboratories stating that the country had the capacity to ensure high quality standard drugs.