WHO says drop in COVID-19 cases in Kenya a result of low testing, contact tracing


WHO says drop in COVID-19 cases in Kenya a result of low testing, contact tracing
The logo of the World Health Organization is seen at the WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

In Summary

  • WHO also noted that there has been a decline in the number of laboratory tests being conducted in Kenya.
  • The global health body criticized Kenya's testing strategy saying the target has been on low risk groups.
  • Some county labs have also reported shortage of test kits and specimen collection kits.

The World Health Organisation has put an asterisk on the progressive drop in COVID-19 cases in Kenya over the last three weeks.

Also Read: President Uhuru Kenyatta says Kenya has begun to flatten COVID-19 curve

In a statement, WHO said while the drop in COVID-19 cases in Kenya follows trends for Nairobi and Mombasa counties, it does not show the real picture.

“This decline closely mirrors trends for Nairobi and Mombasa counties which account for 64% of the total cases. However, this potentially may mask the national picture, as other counties are experiencing increasing case numbers,” reads the statement that was released on August 31.

WHO also noted that there has been a decline in the number of laboratory tests being conducted in Kenya.

The global health body criticized Kenya’s testing strategy saying the target has been on low risk groups; some county labs have also reported shortage of test kits and specimen collection kits.

“There has also been minimal contact tracing in the recent past among the top 10 counties with highest burden of disease. 58 percent of the cases have pending, incomplete contact tracing and only 129 positive contacts were reported from 1st August to 23rd August 2020. In Nairobi 42% of cases were pending contact listing, while over 90% were pending in Kiambu, Machakos, Mombasa, Kajiado, Busia and Nakuru Counties,” the statement reads.

The health body cautioned against a rapid interpretation that the drop in COVID-19 cases in Kenya constitutes a true decline in the spread of the disease.

“While these are encouraging quality indicators that may be used as proxy to decreased transmission, the findings should be treated with caution,” WHO said, adding that there is need for more widespread lab testing and contact tracing.

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