Interior Principal Secretary Dr Karanja Kibicho spoke about contracting coronavirus describing his experience as humbling.
“I have all the equipment of war — guns and everything plus control of all the police officers — but Covid-19 still hit me. If it gets the PS Interior, who can it not get?” he poses.
Adding: “The truth is we are all human beings. We should not behave as if diseases are for Wanjiku. 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.”
Kibicho spent 15 days in a hospital bed after he contracted Covid-19. He says from his line of work, he had all along known he would one day contract the virus but when he caught it, he couldn’t figure out from where.
“This is an airborne disease. The worst that can happen is trying to know where you got it from and apportion blame,” he said.
Kibicho, who is a member of the National Emergency Response Committee on the Coronavirus, said before he was taken ill, he went on inspection tours in October covering Kisii, Tharaka Nithi, Lamu, and Kiambu. He said he did all these while adhering to COVID-19 protocols.
“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,” he recounted.
The PS didn’t have severe symptoms and could have been discharged after testing positive to recuperate at home but doctors decided not to take any chances.
Kibicho, who says he has worked for 29 years without rest, found himself alone in a hospital bed with nothing to do apart from counting the hours.
“You know when the Health CS reads those numbers on TV every day, we rarely think they are actual people. Here I was feeling that I am actually part of those numbers. It is a very humbling feeling,” he said.
“When you are sick in a room where you can’t leave until a doctor says so, you really reflect about your life a lot.”
The PS passed time filling Sudoku puzzles from a book his daughter brought to him.
He also had a treadmill installed in his hospital room and a mat for exercise.
Having fully recovered and back to his workstation, Dr Kibicho says he has become more aware of his surroundings.
“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?”
“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,” he said.