Eleven families at Nakuru’s Manyani Slum were restricted to the confines of their congested estate over the last seven days by their neighbours in fear of contracting Covid-19.

Speaking in an interview on Saturday, July 4, the families expressed their desperation stating they were facing possible starvation as they have been restricted from leaving their premises even for food.

“Any time we try to go out to look for food for our children, they are quickly upon us saying, watu wa corona rudini ndani, mnaenda wapi watu wa corona? (get back inside. As Covid-19 patients, cannot leave,” Phyllis Anyango, one of the mothers barricaded within Manyani Slums narrated between bouts of tears. 

She narrated that their children were in desperate need of food, and castigated the Nakuru County health department for ordering them to self-quarantine without enough guidance only to go for an entire week of stigmatisation and hunger.

“None of the officials has ever been here to carry out the Covid-19 tests. Only 1 or 2 kind-hearted people have been trying to help us,” Paul Kariuki, another member of the 11 families revealed.

In what has been described as a case of community policing gone wrong, the victims pleaded to be allowed to find food for their young ones.

A survey by TIFA Research Firm, published on July 2, showed that stigmatisation was one of the biggest challenges in the fight against Covid-19 in Kenya

“23% of Kenyans are not willing and cannot visit people who have recovered from the virus,” reads the report in part.

It also indicated that 41% of parents do not allow their children to play with children from families that have recovered from the virus.

Many have been reluctant to be tested, for fear of being forced into quarantine, the survey revealed.

On June 10, Health Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Rashid Aman warned Kenyans against stigmatising Covid-19 patients and those who have recovered.

He further stated that the shared vulnerability to the virus should be a source of solidarity, reiterating that the virus was the real enemy, not the people with Covid-19 or those affected by it.