NAIROBI — Staying in self-isolation for at least 14 days as one recovers from COVID-19 at home can be a very lonely experience.
While one stays in the same house with their family members under the home-based care system in Kenya, Ministry of Health guidelines indicate that one must avoid interacting with them to curb the spread of the disease.
Kenyan patients, who are in self-isolation, however, are beating solitude and getting comfort through online groups.
Majority of the patients, who are relating their experiences in isolation, are being comforted through the online groups, in the process making the ordeal a little lighter.
“I tested positive yesterday (Sunday). I am now sipping lime and ginger in self-quarantine. Show love to those around you,” Victor Amadala, a journalist and a COVID-19 patient, wrote on social media on Monday.
He received hundreds of comforting messages, with a majority of citizens encouraging him to fight on.
“Take a lot of fluids, ginger and milk. You will beat the disease,” one social media informed him. Others encouraged him to have a positive and open mind as he fights the disease.
Amakove Wala, a medical doctor and a COVID-19 patient, who spoke out on her condition to fight stigma said she has been humbled by the outpouring of love and good wishes from many Kenyans.
“Get well soon doctor. You are one of the caregivers fighting this disease and you will also be one of the recoveries because you still have to save lives,” Imani informed her.
“Much love and grace as you fight this virus. It is not as strong as you are. You are in my thoughts and prayers,” Friday Gacheri, a doctor wrote.
Boniface Kibui, a resident of Mombasa who recovered from the disease, noted that sitting in isolation as one fights the virus can be an overwhelming experience.
“Self-isolation can be mentally draining especially if you are used to a vibrant life where you interact with people daily. Coming from such a life and sitting alone requires good mental strength but online groups help a lot because you talk and interact with the world in isolation,” he said.
Bernard Mwaso of Edell IT Solution, a software startup in Nairobi, observed that online groups have become part and parcel of peoples’ lives in Kenya and across the globe thanks to increased smartphone usage.
“Unlike in the past when people relied on family or society for psychosocial support, online groups have made it easier to get it. For support from people one knows, then WhatsApp groups come in handy, the other online groups involve both friends and strangers but they are still excellent,” he said.
Mutahi Kagwe, Kenya’s health Cabinet secretary, noted that many of the COVID-19 patients in self-isolation at home are recovering faster because of the support they are getting and the fact that they are in a familiar environment.
“Persons who are in home-based care are recuperating faster because of good psychological health. So far, we have not lost any patient in the home-based care treatment, which is commendable,” he said.
He noted that the society must be involved in taking care of the COVID-19 patients for their faster recovery.