Kenya’s Stranded in India.

Photo courtesy of Nation Media.

India has had one of the best health care system but with the hit of Covid 19, their healthcare system seems to be failing. Since the outbreak of Covid 19, there have been measures put in place to restrict the spread of the virus. Last year in a quid-pro-quo understanding, India approved Kenya’s official request granting special permission that saw Kenyan and Indian national carriers fly passengers to and from the countries, despite lockdowns, until a more lethal Covid-19 variant was confirmed in India. Then Kenya joined countries including the US, Britain, New Zealand, France, Singapore and Canada in burning flights to and from India indefinitely to reduce the spread of the virus.

The rising number of cases in India has resulted in a deepening healthcare crisis that has gripped several states, and countries all over the world.Health experts say India became complacent in the winter, when new cases were running at about 10,000 a day and seemed to be under control, and lifted restrictions to allow big gatherings.

A large number of patients from Kenya travel to India every year for specialised medical treatment, especially cancer care, helping to drive medically affordable and easily accessible healthcare have been affected by the restrictions with most of them being stuck in the country after the travel burn.Kenyans currently in India are requested to send their names as they appear in the passport, their passport number, telephone and email addresses, their location and purpose of visit.

Some of the Kenyans who had flown to India for treatment have told of their tribulations after the government suspended passenger flights between Kenya and the Asian country following a surge in Covid-19 infections there. The agony of the majority of Kenyans in India is unfortunate. Some are on the verge of starvation having exhausted the money they had as they had not anticipated the flight suspension and the ripple effect have been devastating. Others are forced to move out of the hospitals where they were seeking treatment as they can no longer afford the bills.

Kenya has now resolved to allow students, patients and their caregivers who are stuck in India to return to the country after intense negotiations between Kenya’s Mission in New Delhi and the Ministry of Health. Patients, their caregivers and students in India who have finished their studies and intend to return home are required to send their booking reference numbers to Kenya’s Mission in New Delhi after they secure their tickets so that they are provided with special permission to be allowed back into the country. Although allowed to travel, no flight from Kenya will pick them up. New Delhi, has had engagements with various government ministries and departments to work on modalities to ensure Kenyans stranded in India return home. The Ministry of Health has issued a no-objection certificate for Kenyans stranded in India to be able to return home.

Those who return home and upon testing wturn negative will undergo 14 days of monitored quarantining at home and register on the ‘Jitenge ‘system. Those who turn positive will give second samples for PCR-based tests and will be placed in isolation.tests are used to directly screen for the presence of viral RNA, which will be detectable in the body before antibodies form or symptoms of the disease are present. This means the tests can tell whether or not someone has the virus very early on in their illness.

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