South African woman who complained of deplorable state of quarantine facility in Kenya commits suicide

Kenya Industrial Training Institute (KITI) In Nakuru. [Photo courtesy]

A female South African national who arrived in the country on March 25, 2020, and quarantined at the Kenya Industrial Training Institute (KITI) in Nakuru has committed suicide.

Elizabeth Holloway, 27, is reportedly said to have complained repeatedly about the deplorable state of the quarantine facility.

Nakuru Health CeC Dr Kariuki Gichuki on Friday noted that the woman of Caucasian origin was shuttled to KITI after the government’s directive that all in-bound passenger undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine.

She was discovered dead in her room on Friday morning. She hanged herself according to Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya.

“She was discovered in her room today morning with initial police investigations pointing to suicide,” said Nakuru Health CEC in a statement.

One of those quarantined at KITI said that the deceased had on Thursday evening asked to be quarantined at a hotel citing deplorable conditions at KITI.

“Yesterday evening she complained that the conditions are deplorable and had requested to be taken to a hotel for quarantine as she could afford but the health officials were hesitant,” said one of the four individuals quarantined at the facility according to Citizen Digital.

However, there are reports that some quarantine facilities set aside for all passengers entering Kenya are in a deplorable state.

Reports from a section of those who were placed at the KMTC quarantine centre paint an appalling picture of unpreparedness by the government.

They claim that dirty toilets, cold showers, and bed bug-infested rooms were not what they expected to find at the centre. Also, they decried a lack of sanitizers in these quarantine facilities making it look like “one big mess”.

“First of all, we were holed up at the airport without any communication from the authorities and after a back and forth, we landed at the KMTC on Tuesday evening,” *Derek Maina (not his real name) told the Star.

“You just know how the student toilets look like, they were very dirty and there was no one to clean them. It was horrible and terrible…There were no cleaners. At one point you get someone who has shaved and left the mess there. So we were forced to clean the toilets before use.”

He added that they have to deal with bed bugs menace in the rooms which makes it very uncomfortable.

“Some of the rooms here have bed bugs. You can imagine this is just one of the rooms. What about the other rooms? People who have not checked their beds. Apart from coronavirus, now we have to fight bed bugs as well?” he posed adding that he has since been evacuated to a hotel in Nairobi where he is comfortable.

Even as this happens, the government insists that all passengers coming to Kenya must be quarantined for 14 days.

Health CS Mutahi Kagwe said this is in the wake of the realization that most of the confirmed cases came in from other countries.

The CS in a briefing on Friday added that though the confirmed cases remain at 31, the government will embark on mass testing of 2000 people who flew into Kenya from March 22, 2020.

He added they have been quarantined in designated government centres and hotels.