Kenya’s Government Says Children Under Two Years May Not Wear Face Mask

The Kenyan Government on Tuesday declared wearing of facemasks by children under two years old is not necessary.

Dr Pacifica Onyancha, acting director, Medical Services Preventive and Promotive Health, stated this while speaking on the COVID-19 pandemic in the nation with 4,044 confirmed cases of the virus.

She also noted that same should apply to children under five years in private spaces such as in their parent’s car or at home. According to her, this is to prevent suffocation.

“I just want to make an appeal to the mothers in terms of wearing facemasks. Children are very fragile and I want to say that during this time of Covid-19 children under two years are not recommended to put on facemasks because they actually reduce the oxygen supply,” Dr Onyancha said.

“The under-five children in personal space that is in a car and at home should not wear facemasks, to prevent suffocation. Good health is also key not only to the prevention of Covid-19 but also other diseases,” she added.

Highlighting the importance of mental healthiness for parents and guardians, she stated; “For those taking care of children, the mental status has to be okay. Because if not then the guardian will not be able to take care of the children.

“So if you feel you need psychosocial support we have elaborate services to attend to it, and therefore seek help so that you do not injure a child.”

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Dr Onyancha says the Ministry of Health has also focused on immunisation of children, which has been affected by the pandemic. The ministry has come up with ways to mitigate these challenges.

“This includes enhancing the child welfare clinics to make sure the caregiver and children coming with their parents for immunisation are able to be attended to without fear of contracting coronavirus,” she said.

Dr Onyacha encouraged women to continue breastfeeding their children even after they test positive for COVID-19.

“In this time of Covid-19 I want to encourage mothers even if you are found positive of the disease to continue breastfeeding but make sure you put on a mask,” Dr Onyancha said.

“… and have minimal contact with the child, meaning that after you are done breastfeeding it is good for the child to be taken care off by someone else, to avoid infection.”

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