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Govt Speaks on Revealing Identities of Coronavirus Patients
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|Govt Speaks on Revealing Identities of Coronavirus Patients by Kenyans247(1): Thu 19, March, 2020 05:02pm|
Government Spokesperson Cyrus Oguna has categorically stated that the government is not going to release the names of patients infected by Covid-19.
Speaking to Kenyans.co.ke on Thursday, March 19, Oguna stated that due to patients' confidentiality, the government would not make the names public despite the pressure.
"Our laws are very clear that patient confidentiality must be applied, and trying to break that would be against the law. We cannot provide the names unless the patients are willing to make their details public themselves when they are out of hospital," Oguna stated.
Oguna's sentiments were echoed by Likuyani MP Enoch Kibunguchy, a medical doctor who also sits in the National Assembly Departmental Committee on Health.
"Just like we in the medical profession put it, there is the aspect of patient confidentiality. Someone can be shunned just because they have been found to have suffered from the virus.
"I think we have to be confidential. In any case, even if you were to say the name out in public, how many people would know who the patient is across the country?" he posed.
He added that even if a patient's name is made public, the stigma that comes to them even long after the person has been cured would be detrimental to both the person and the society.
He insisted that the most important thing was for everyone to take care of themselves as directed by the government to avoid suffering from the infections.
Tongaren Member of Parliament Eseli Simiyu, who is also a medical doctor by profession, however, had a different view of the situation.
"It would be wise for the information to be made public because this is a situation where you would want to trace any contacts, and also the people who had been in contact might not know that the person had the virus.
"To contain the problem, I do not think that confidentiality will help us if we had a serious outbreak. It is not a stigma thing. It is about the general public health.He added that it would not be wise for an individual's right to confidentiality to override the general public health.
He concluded by urging the government to reveal their identities before the numbers spiral out of control, given that the country may not have enough resources to combat Covid-19 at such an advanced level.
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