Amref Health Africa Global CEO Githinji Gitahi has called on the Kenyan government lift the ongoing nationwide curfew and shifts its focus to vaccinating its population as a new strategy in fighting Covid-19.
In a tweet thread on Sunday, Dr Githinji, a member of the Taskforce on Africa’s Covid-19 Response, said the Curfew helped save lives at the beginning of the pandemic, but now the government should shift to a tactical, localised time-bound tool.
But even as the Amref boss gives out his advice, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe today announced that the ongoing containment measures, including the curfew, will be extended for another 30 days.
Speaking during the official launch of the Media Council of Kenya Covid-19 information portal, Mr Kagwe said that during the 30 days extension period, the government will vaccinate as many people as possible; adding that this is the only way to ensure the economy is eventually fully opened
However, according to Dr Githinji, curfews should be lifted across Africa and be used on a need basis.
“Governments now need to move to the recovery phase focusing on large scale #COVID19 vaccination and building resilient health systems URGENTLY – #curfew should now move from a long-term strategy to a short term tactical localised time-bound tool during a surge of infections.”
Dr Githinji further noted that continuous observance of individual public health measures like mask-wearing in public, hand hygiene and avoiding unnecessary physical interactions will still be important.
According to him, governments need to ensure there is adequate oxygen, enough health workers, funding, large-scale timely vaccination and rigorous epidemiological data to determine whether short-term curfews are required as circuit breakers.
Dr Githinji further said the curfew should be lifted because people’s jobs and the economy need to be preserved.
“Police have used curfew enforcement for brutality and extortion. Compliance has waned — tactical time-bound curfews are more likely to be enforceable. Finally, the pandemic phase demands so!” he added.