Agriculture PS: My 32-day isolation experience battling coronavirus

Agriculture PS Hamadi Boga
Agriculture PS Hamadi Boga. [Photo courtesy]

Agriculture Principal Secretary Hamadi Boga, never expected to contract coronavirus and fail to notice the first symptoms, at least.

But this was not the case for him. Key symptoms did not show and for days, he walked freely to supermarkets and his temperature was within the range of 36.50C.

However, the virus would take a toll on him minutes before walking into a zoom meeting where his voice got hoarse and his colleagues raised alarm. He also experienced breathing difficulties.

Before this, Boga who is a microbiologist says that he had developed chills which he would feel right to his bone. He then decided to take a COVID-19 test which confirmed his fears.

“I know it was July but that is not what I am talking about. These chills were abnormal, way deeper than the usual July experience. Then I had the aches all over, especially muscles (calves, thigh and arms). Then the cough that was not productive and that persists, and a tightness or numbness around the chest at the back and at the front,” Boga wrote in an open letter to Kenyans.

“Only once did I have a high-grade fever of 37.5 when tested at the hospital. I could not smell anything, not food or perfume, nothing. The taste buds went out of the window and I was basically eating grass. The area around the kidneys and abdomen pained. It went on and off,” he added.

Having spent 32-days in isolation, the PS says the whole process is expensive and would be a tall order for an average Kenyan to foot the cost of testing and quarantine.

His word of advice: “The poor people cannot afford the testing or the quarantine and the ceremonies that go with that. Let us make social distancing a religion. It should come from the bottom up.

“It should be everyone’s responsibility to understand and manage the disease for ourselves and our communities, whatever we do and wherever we live. We have to change and tame our instincts to socialise casually.

“We need to activate our caring genes so we project care by preventing the spread of Covid-19 and we show our humanity that way. Should this be the single most important thing in which we should anchor any behaviour change communication? Food for thought,” he opined.

On Friday, 580 new cases of Covid-19 were recorded raising the country’s total to 29,334.

Health CAS Dr Mercy Mwangangi said 5,458 samoles were tested.

Of the new cases recorded in the last 24 hours, 530 are Kenyans and 30 are foreigners. The youngest was one-year-old and the oldest was 92 years; 366 were male and 244 female.

Another 198 patients were discharges bringing cumulative recoveries to 15,298.

Sadly, five more patients succumbed to the virus bringing the death toll to 465.

Among those reported dead is a senior pulmonologist, Dr Ndambuki Mboloi.

Dr Mboloi, according to a statement by KMPDU passed on while receiving treatment at the Kenyatta University Referral Hospital.