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“I have very many friends and every week we are burying someone”- PS Kibicho reflects on his battle with Covid

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Interior Principal Secretary Dr Karanja Kibicho has opened up about his battle with Covid-19.

Speaking to a local daily, Dr Kibicho narrated how his power was temporarily neutered by the virus that has so far killed 1,518 people in Kenya and infected nearly 88,000.

“I have all the equipment of war — guns and everything plus control of all the police officers — but Covid-19 still hit me,” Dr Karanja told the Sunday Nation.

He says he does not know exactly how or from where he contracted the virus, though he adhered to all health and safety protocols as spelt out by the Ministry of Health.  

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Always in a Mask

 “I am one of those people who is always wearing a mask. I live a fairly active life. I eat healthy, I don’t drink, I don’t smoke so when there is something wrong with my body I can tell. So when I felt a small irritation while sneezing, I felt in the first instance that it was time to go for testing.”

Dr Karanja Kibicho
Dr Kibicho cuts the tape to mark the commissioning of Matuguta Police Post and Chief’s Camp, in Githunguri, Kiambu County, early November. PHOTO/MoICNG

Before he was confirmed positive, Dr Kibicho had taken a whirlwind tour of Kisii, Tharaka Nithi, Lamu and Kiambu counties. He is a member of the National Emergency Response Committee on the Coronavirus, which necessitates frequent travel.

Dr Kibicho was asymptomatic. This means that he could have recuperated under a home-based care. But doctors opted to treat him in hospital, where he stayed for 15 days.   

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Books and Sudoku

To pass time, he buried his mind in books and Sudoku puzzles. According to the newspaper, the PS also had a treadmill installed in his hospital room and a mat for exercise.

“Being in a hospital bed for 15 days is not a joke. Today whenever I see someone without a mask, I notice it very quickly. If people are not properly social distanced, I ask myself why they are so close. Why are they hugging?”

Dr Kibicho expressed concern that there are people who still believe Covid is a myth.

People Still in Denial

“We are in a situation where a lot of people are in denial of the existence of the coronavirus and this is what is fuelling the spread. If it gets the PS Interior, who can it not get? The truth is we are all human beings. We should not behave as if diseases are for ‘Wanjiku’.”

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Dr Kibicho, who says he has worked for 29 years without a break, admits the disease made him pause and reflect. “I have very many friends and every week we are burying someone. Almost half of the people we are burying could have been Covid patients and they didn’t know. But unless we remove the stigma, we are still a long way from dealing with the virus.”

None of the PS’s aides turned positive.  

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