Nakuru County expands health tests for truck drivers

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A section of truck drivers who underwent testing for Covid-19 at Maai Mahiu health centre display some of the supplies they received.

With all efforts directed at containing Covid-19, many other common ailments could get lost in the thick of things, leading to an upsurge.

However, a non-governmental organization in Nakuru has partnered with the county government to set up screening for a number of other common infections.

North Star Alliance International has partnered with the devolved unit to step up testing and management of malaria, tuberculosis, HIV/Aids and sexually transmitted infections among truck drivers.

Diagnosis and treatment of the diseases is being offered alongside testing for Covid-19 of the truck drivers at the Maai Mahiu Health Centre and Salgaa parking bay.  

North Star Alliance is a non-profit, public-private partnership entity that has established a network of roadside health clinics at major truck stopovers and border crossings in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Malawi.

It also operates in Democratic Republic of Congo, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Gambia.

Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui’s administration has on the other hand, stepped up screening of truckers at major stop overs including Salgaa, Mau Summit, Kikopey, Gilgil and Naivasha areas which have been mapped as Covid 19-high risk zones.

However, keen on ensuring that other health challenges are not forgotten, the county administration is also keeping a close eye on management and treatment of all other infectious and non-communicable diseases.

“As we focus our manpower and resources in the fight against coronavirus, we are not neglecting vulnerable citizens including truckers who can be a conduit of spreading many communicable diseases to their wives, girlfriends across the national and international borders,” noted the governor in an earlier interview with KNA.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that, with all focus directed at containing Covid-19, more people are likely to die from the indirect effects of the pandemic including possible neglect in managing non communicable diseases and rise in infectious illness. 

A laboratory technologist attached to North Star Alliance at the Maai Mahiu Health Centre Stephen Gichini said the partnership was also offering the drivers counseling and information designed to motivate behavioral change, while also informing them about practical and immediate measures they can take to stay safe and slow the spread of the diseases.