By David Kipkorir
The novel coronavirus pandemic has affected all countries globally. However, data from Kenya’s Ministry of Health (MOH) indicate that more men are being infected as compared to women.
Dr Patrick Amoth, the Director-General at MOH attributed the gender disparity in Kenya to the increasing number of cases to more risky behaviour exhibited by men such as ignoring physical distancing, washing hands and not taking symptoms seriously.
He said there are postulations that the risky behaviour of men makes them predisposed to infection and hence the high risk of developing the comorbidities. “In terms of hygiene, men tend to wash their hands less frequently compared to women”, revealed the DG.
B e h a v i o u r a l differences such as smoking, that can compromise immunity and affect the level of pre-existing diseases like heart disease are believed to have a huge impact on the outcome from infections such as coronavirus.
Currently, what is apparent is that in many countries, more men have contracted the Covid-19 virus than women have, and the pandemic has claimed more men’s lives than women have.
Daily statistics posted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) from China, Italy, and the United States show that men appear to experience more severe symptoms and die of the disease at greater rates than women, with deaths possibly up to 20 per cent higher.
A survey by Health Business Magazine attributed the gender parity in Kenya to the increasing number of cases from cross-border drivers. Kenya recorded a spike in the number of Covid-19 cases in July, with most of the new infections from crossborder truck drivers.
However, researchers globally tend to agree that there is currently no scientific evidence that justifies why more men contract Covid-19 than women do.
“But one of the strong assumptions we have is that it is because men are more mobile than women, so they carry a higher risk of infection than women,” said a group of researchers in a recent report published in Frontiers in Public Health journal that investigated the severity and mortality of the Covid-19 virus in different genders.
As of November 29, 2020, most of the confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) cases i n K e n y a w e r e c o n c e n t r a t e d i n Nairobi. In the entire country, the number of coronavirus cases amounted to 83316, 54975 recoveries and 1452 deaths.
The statistics are from the Ministry of Health and contained in the daily COVID-19 media briefing in the capital Nairobi. The country is one of only seven African countries that have reported more than 20,000 COVID-19 cases. It is the worst affected by the pandemic in the East African region, followed by Ethiopia.
Kenya confirmed the first case of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on March 12, 2020, since the beginning of the outbreak in China in December 2019.
The case was a Kenyan citizen who travelled back to Nairobi returning from the United States of America via London, United Kingdom on March 5 2020. The National Influenza Centre Laboratory at the National Public Health Laboratories of the Ministry of Health confirmed her positive.