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Health insurers to cover coronavirus costs

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The Insurance Regulatory Authority on Friday said insurance firms will cover all policy holders affected by the new coronavirus.

Commissioner of Insurance Godfrey Kiptum said the agency was in talks with health insurers and they agreed to cover medical costs of coronavirus victims in the country.

Standard medical insurance typically excludes epidemics and pandemics.

Earlier this week, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the disease a pandemic.

Kenya reported its first case of the coronavirus on Friday even as the country remains on high alert in the wake of the disease spreading in 12 African countries.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said the patient is a Kenyan who travelled from US via London.

He said that although the patient, a Kenyan, is stable and eating, she will not be released from hospital until she is confirmed negative. The woman is at Kenyatta National Hospital’s Infectious Diseases Unit.

The government says it has traced all contacts the patient made since her arrival.

The Association of Kenya Insurers (AKI) had earlier said the classification of the disease as pandemic indicates that victims will settle their own bills if cases are reported in Kenya.

“If there was to be a major attack, then all insurance companies would close shop. The claims will wipe the insurers out completely. That is why such exclusions are put in insurance policies,” said Tom Gichuhi, the AKI chief executive.

More than 126,000 people have been infected globally by the virus and more than 4,600 have died. The disease has spread to 122 countries, prompting the WHO to label the outbreak a pandemic.

In Kenya, medical insurance remains a loss-making segment due to price undercutting, fraud and high hospital bills. Medical insurers’ underwriting loss doubled to Sh1 billion in 2018.

By Nation


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Health

Coronavirus-burdened US warns its citizens against travel to Kenya

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The US government has issued a travel advisory to Kenya, citing an increased risk of contracting Covid-19, this despite the country being among those leading globally with the virus infections.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in an updated health notice on Wednesday warned American citizens against travelling to Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Burundi.

CDC placed the four nations under Level 4 Alert, meaning there is a very high level of Covid-19 and all non-essential travel should be avoided.

“Travelers should avoid all travel to Kenya. Travel may increase your chance of getting and spreading Covid-19,” said CDC in a notice.

If one must travel to these countries, they must strictly adhere to the health protocols on Covid-19 including wearing masks and keeping six feet distance from other people, CDC added.

“Travel may increase your chance of getting and spreading Covid-19,” stated the US health institute on its website.

“During travel, wear a mask, stay at least six feet from people who are not traveling with you, wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer, and watch your health for signs of illness.”

CDC further urged American travellers to get tested for Covid-19 one to three days before travel and only leave the country after receiving the results.

Those returning to the US must also undergo testing one to three days earlier and adhere to all Covid-19 regulations.

According to the CDC, a Level 3 Travel Health Notice is the highest risk level and means citizens should strive to avoid all non-essential travel.

A CDC Level 2 Travel Health Notice advises American citizens to practice enhanced precautions while a Level 1 Travel Health Notice advises Americans to practice usual precautions.

The warnings come as US reported its highest number of Covid-19 deaths in a single day on Wednesday with 3,157 new fatalities and more than 273,799 people having died due to the virus and more than 13.9 million infected, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

On Thursday, Kenya registered the highest recoveries on a single day after 11,324 patients were discharged in 24 hours bringing the total number of recoveries to 67,788 since April 1.

Similarly, 1,253 patients tested positive after 10,170 samples were analyzed in the same period.

Kenya’s caseload rose to 86,383 on Thursday out of 911,596 samples analyzed since March.

The Covid-19 death toll also rose to 1,500 after 16 more patients succumbed to the disease.

by NN


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Health

Kericho man who woke up in mortuary dies

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The man who was taken to the mortuary at Kapkatet Sub County Hospital in Kericho County after being presumed dead, has breathed his last.

Peter Cheruiyot died while being transferred to Kericho County Referral Hospital in an ambulance on Thursday afternoon for specialised treatment.

He was transferred to the mortuary hours after his family rushed him to hospital after collapsing at his home.

Cheplanget Ward Representative Hezborn Tonui confirmed that the man had passed on.

“It is true. He has breathed his last while being transferred to Kericho for further treatment. I am at the homestead condoling with the family,” Mr Tonui told the Nation on telephone.

In an interview with the Nation on Thursday last week, Cheruiyot said it was a miracle he was still alive. He was confident that he would recover and join his family. But that did not come to pass.

 “I am happy to be alive…it is a miracle that I am breathing, talking and I can move my limbs and eat. This is the work of God,” the 32 year old Cheruiyot told the Nation in an interview on Thursday last week.

Cooling chamber

In what generated a lot of reaction in the South Rift region and beyond, the father of four cried out when a mortician attempted to cut an incision on his leg so as to insert preservatives on the body before it could be put in the cooling chamber.

“I felt an excruciating pain on the leg and screamed my lungs out. It is like I was being burned with a hot iron bar,” said Cheruiyot.

As we conducted the interview, relatives, villagers and curious members of the public jammed the male ward at the hospital to have a glimpse of the man who “rose from the dead”.

“I do not know what happened prior to my being dumped in the mortuary. The next thing I knew after screaming, which I was initially not sure if anyone heard me, is that I was being wheeled to the ward,” said the former matatu tout.

After screaming and catching the attention of the mortician, the patient passed out again and was rushed to the emergency ward where doctors resuscitated him before admission.

When he fainted at Keroncho village in Cheplanget on Tuesday last week, the patient was rushed to hospital by relatives.

At the hospital, he was allegedly left unattended by doctors and nurses at the casualty ward.

“How they (medics) arrived at the conclusion that I had died, leading to my transfer to the mortuary is a matter of conjecture,” said Cheruiyot adding that the fresh wound on the right upper part of the leg which was cut in the morgue was very painful.

Interestingly, despite looking frail and at times struggling to speak, he had a razor sharp memory as he could recognise relatives and friends by name.

Family members said that the man had been battling a terminal illness and had been in and out of various hospitals in the region.

Low immunity

Due to his low immunity, he has been admitted to some of the facilities for days for treatment according to medical records seen by the Nation.

“When he fainted at home, we used a Toyota Probox to rush him to hospital where doctors said he had passed on. We were shocked to be told later by the mortuary attendants that he was still alive,” Mr Kevin Kipkirui, the patient’s younger brother, told journalists at the hospital.

Dr Gilbert Cheruiyot, the Medical Superintendent at Kapkatet Sub County Hospital said last week that the patient was taken to the mortuary by his relatives.

“In a breach of protocol, the family members rushed the patient to the mortuary after presuming that he had died,” said Dr Cheruiyot

He said that the matter was under investigations and the gaps that had been detected would be addressed after a report on investigation is tabled.

Members of the Kericho County Assembly on Tuesday absolved medical officers at the hospital of blame after an ad hoc committee on health formed to investigate the matter tabled its report in the House.

The committee was chaired by Hezron Ngetich (Chilchila ward), with Ms Ann Tum (nominated) as the vice chairperson while other members are- Paul Chirchir, Gilbert Ngetich, Wangare Njuguna, Emily Kerich, Erick Bii, Humprhey Kirui, Eric Bett and Philip Rono.

by nation.africa


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Health

KQ loses second pilot to Covid-19 in London

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The national carrier Kenya Airways has lost another pilot to Covid-19.

Captain Salah Salim Jeizan, 57, died at a London hospital on Wednesday, the airline’s chief human resources officer Evelyne Munyoki said in a condolence message.

Captain Jeizan flew to London’s Heathrow Airport on November 7 from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport but developed difficulties in breathing while in a London hotel.

Jeizan was rushed to the hospital from his hotel room and put on oxygen.

According to Ibrahim Johnny, a close colleague, the deceased will be buried on Thursday in London under the Islamic law.

Captain Jeizan joined the national carrier in 2001 as a junior pilot and rose through the ranks to his last position as a senior captain on the Boeing 787 fleet.

He flew to different international destinations in Europe, US and the Middle East.

“On behalf of the board of directors, the management and staff of Kenya Airways, we join the family of the late captain Jeizan in mourning their beloved one and pray that the almighty God will strengthen them during this time of sorrow,” KQ said in a statement.

In April Kenya lost its first captain, Daudi Kibati, days after commandeering a flight that evacuated Kenyans stranded in the US after the outbreak of Covid-19.

The captain was taken ill on March 29 after returning from New York and he died on April 1.

By NN


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