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Afraha Stadium Annex not spared effects of deadly virus

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FRANCIS MUREITHI

By FRANCIS MUREITHI
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As local sports continues to grapple with the effects of Covid-19 disease, Nakuru’s Afraha Stadium Annex has become the latest victim of the deadly pandemic that has disrupted sports globally.

The facility, sitting on 10 acres, has been converted into a one big temporary open air market after the county government shifted the Wakulima Market to the area from Nakuru’s Central Business District in a bid to contain the spread of coronavirus, and to enforce rules on social distance among people.

Nakuru County Sub-branch League has been suspended indefinitely, keeping more than 42 teams out of action.

The teams that use Afraha Annex as its home ground include Nakuru Youth Sports Association (NYSA) FC, Twomoc Youth FC, Mini-Star FC, Freehold FC and AC Nakuru.

According to Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Nakuru sub-branch secretary Eliakim Mbalilwa, once the league resumes after coronavirus has been contained, matches scheduled to be played at Afraha Stadium Annex will be shifted to Kamukunji Sports grounds, St Theresa and Kimathi Primary schools respectively.

“The league was postponed until further notice because of coronavirus pandemic and it is likely to be delayed even further if the crisis persists,” said Mbalilwa.

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The league was programmed to end in July, but it is unlikely to beat the timelines.

By the time the league was disrupted, competing teams had played nine matches each, Mbalilwa said.

The league is divided in two zones – Western and Eastern – each having 21 teams.

Nyayo Stars lead Western zone with 14 points, followed by United Legends with 12. Humberg Simba Njoro, Kampi ya Moto and Nakuru Hope have 10 points each.

In Eastern Zone, Greenstead FC and Kivumbini are joint top with 16 points each, while NYSA, on 13 points, are third. Madaraka Youth are fourth with 12 points while Beef Research Lanet follow with 12 points.

As of Friday, Nakuru County had two confirmed cases of Covid-19, but health officials have said the numbers are expected to rise as the two individuals who have turned positive for the deadly virus had been mingling freely with the residents before they were confined to a quarantine centre at Kenya Industrial Training Institute (KITI).

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Mbalilwa also announced that the sub-branch has reorganised the fixtures and teams will be playing two matches on weekends when the competition resumes.

“As a branch, we are in close talks with the club officials and once the league resumes the teams will play two matches every Saturday and Sunday to enable us conclude the league as planned,” added Mbalilwa.

He urged players to obey the government’s health directives, and to adhere to Ministry of Health guidelines to combat the pandemic.

“I urge the players to remain at home because we will need them once the crisis is over. The league will resume immediately,” said Mbalilwa.

He further urged the devolved unit to give the repair of the Afraha Annex Stadium top priority once the crisis is over.

“The Annex is crucial to the development of football in Nakuru East as the pitch is also used by teams in National Super League,” said Mbalilwa.

Also disrupted by the turning of Afraha Annex into a makeshift market is the sitting volleyball team.

Coach Florence Ofwenje said their training programme has been put on hold and all players have been told to stay at home.

“We were training for an open tournament in Trans Nzoia County but we have been forced to cancel the training until further notice,” said Ofwenje.

Afraha Annex and the main stadium are earmarked for major renovation to international standards but with the pandemic, construction work is likely to be delayed.

A goal post at Afraha Stadium Annex which has been converted into a makeshift open air market as coronavirus pandemic take a toll on sports facilities in Nakuru County.

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NBA star Westbrook tests positive for COVID-19

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LOS ANGELES, United States, Jul 13NBA star Russell Westbrook revealed Monday he has tested positive for COVID-19 as the league gears up for its return in Florida later this month.

Houston Rockets star Westbrook, the 2017 Most Valuable Player and one of the biggest names in the NBA, said in a statement he was feeling well and was in isolation.

“I tested positive for COVID-19 prior to my team’s departure to Orlando,” Westbrook said on Twitter.

“I’m currently feeling well, quarantined and looking forward to rejoining my teammates when I am cleared. Thank you all for the well wishes and continued support,” the 31-year-old added.

“Please take this virus seriously. Be safe. Mask up!”

Westbrook was one of several Rockets players who did not travel to Orlando, where the NBA will resume its season on July 30 after a four-month shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

As well as Westbrook, fellow superstar James Harden and Cameroon international Luc Mbah a Moute also did not travel, although the team has not given a reason for their absence.

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Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni on Sunday said Westbrook, Harden and Mbah a Moute were “working in their own home base.”

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“We’re still expecting them in a few days,” D’Antoni said. “You never know, but we think we’ll get them back in here by the middle of the week.

D’Antoni would not comment on why the players had not travelled with the team.

“These are things that people are dealing with,” he said. “We’re not going to get into why not. They’re on their way.”

Westbrook is one of several NBA players to have tested positive for COVID-19, joining a list which includes Brooklyn’s Kevin Durant, Boston’s Marcus Smart and Utah Jazz duo Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell.

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Honour our nurses … they pay the ultimate price for us to live

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By BERNADINE MUTANU

On June 18, Moses Gitonga Ringera, the clinical nurse who succumbed to Covid-19 recently, reported to work at the University of Nairobi Clinic as usual.

But he started complaining of chest pains and shortness of breath hours later.

“When he was examined, his blood sugar was very high despite him not having a history of diabetes,” said his wife, Lucyline Gitonga, during an interview with the Nation.

Because of the Covid-19 symptoms, he was rushed to the Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral and Research Hospital (KUTRRH) and was put in isolation. At the unit, his condition was confirmed.

Gitonga was the second case of a Covid-19 death of a healthcare professional in the country. He would have celebrated his 50th birthday on August 21, his wife told the Nation.

On admission, the 49-year-old nurse never woke up; he died at the intensive care unit, having fought the virus for a week.

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“I was called from the hospital and informed that he had died on June 24 at 6.30am,” she said.

The medical professional was buried at his home in Kunene, Tigania West, in Meru County on June 30.

LONG ABSENCE

Mrs Gitonga, a nurse working in Meru, said the last time she saw him was in March, just before curfew.

“He had come home and because of the restrictions, he could not come again. When he got ill, we just spoke over the phone to inform me of his condition,” she said.

“We are still mourning. We are still seeing him. We feel as if he is still with us but we are beginning to realise that we are alone. It is deeply painful.”

The nurse said her husband contracted the virus in the line of duty as he sacrificed his life for Kenyans.

“Healthcare workers should be protected. They should be given personal protective equipment and their families should be compensated in case of death so that their children can continue with their lives,” she said.

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“There should be an enabling environment… healthcare workers should have insurance.”

OTHER DEATHS

Before Gitonga, Clifford Manyara Mburia, a 58-year-old anaesthetist who was working at Kitengela Medical Centre, succumbed to the virus.

He passed on at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) on June 15 after contracting the virus in the line of duty and was buried on June 22 in Kithiru, Weru in Tharaka Nithi County.

Mburia had two children.

“It was discovered posthumously that he had contracted the virus,” said Alfred Obengo, President of the National Nurses Association of Kenya.

Speaking to the Nation, his daughter Shirleen Gakii, 25, said, “We could not imagine it. I have never seen him admitted to a hospital, his death was untimely.”

He developed a cough and died only a day after being admitted at KNH, she said.

“I was called by his friend who informed me of his demise. I later learnt that he passed on because he had Covid-19,” Gakii said.

The first-year student at Chuka University said life has been hard without both of their parents.

She and her brother, a second-year KCA University student, are afraid they may not be able to complete their studies for lack of finances.

The latest health worker to pay the ultimate price was Dr Doreen Adisa Lugaliki, a consultant obstetrician and gynecologist, who died on Friday at Aga Khan Hospital.

Dr Lugaliki was buried on Monday in Bungoma County.

Currently, some 361 healthcare workers have tested positive for the disease, which has already killed 197 Kenyans.

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World hunger worsening as Covid-19 weighs and obesity rises: UN

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By AFP

Rome,

Nearly one in nine people in the world are going hungry, with the coronavirus pandemic exacerbating already worsening trends this year, according to a United Nations report published Monday.

Economic slowdowns and climate-related shocks are pushing more people into hunger, while nutritious foods remain too expensive for many, contributing not only to undernourishment, but to growing rates of obesity in adults and children.

“After decades of long decline, the number of people suffering from hunger has been slowly increasing since 2014,” said the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World annual report.

Not only did people need enough food, but nutritious food, the study said, citing costly “health and environmental consequences” of sub-par diets.

Nearly 690 million people, or 8.9 per cent of people around the globe, are hungry, the UN found.

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That number rose by 10 million people in just one year to 2019, and by 60 million in the past five years, found the study, which said eradicating hunger by 2030 – a goal set five years ago – will be impossible if trends continue.

By 2030, over 890 million people could be affected by hunger, or 9.8 per cent of the world’s population, it estimated.

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Five United Nations agencies co-authored the report: the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Last year, the report estimated that over 820 million people were going hungry, but estimates were recalculated following revised data from China for prior years.

When measuring both moderate and severe food insecurity in 2019, the number balloons from 690 million to 2 billion people without “regular access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food”.

POVERTY

The Covid-19 pandemic, which has hit hard in nations with widespread poverty, could cause another 83 to 132 million people to become undernourished this year, the report said.

Global trends had already been worsening before coronavirus, it said.

About a quarter of Africa’s population could go hungry by 2030 from 19.1 per cent today, already twice the world average.

In Asia, the number of hungry people fell by 8 million people since 2015, although the continent remains home to more than half the world’s undernourished people.

Trends in Latin America and the Caribbean are worsening, with 9 million more hungry people last year than in 2015.

“A key reason why millions of people around the world suffer from hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition is because they cannot afford the cost of healthy diets,” found the report.

OBESITY

In all regions, adult obesity is on the rise, with healthy diets of fruits, vegetables and protein-rich foods unaffordable to some 3 billion people.

Over 57 per cent of people in sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia cannot afford a healthy diet.

Low-income countries rely on starchy staples like cereals and tubers that can cost 60 percent less than healthy diets, but lack necessary proteins and key vitamins and minerals to reduce infections and ward off disease.

The report found 21.3 per cent of children under five, or 144 million, experienced stunted growth due to malnutrition, most of them in Africa or Asia.

Another 6.9 per cent were “wasted” with nutritional imbalances, while 5.6 per cent were overweight.

Of the overweight children, 45 per cent come from Asia, and 24 per cent from Africa, underscoring how malnutrition takes the form of both undernutrition and obesity.

CONSUMPTION PATTERNS

Current patterns in food consumption are estimated to result in health costs of over $1.3 trillion per year by 2030.

But healthier diets could lower those costs by up to 97 per cent, the report estimated, citing a vegetarian diet with associated health costs of less than $100 million.

Costs are also associated with greenhouse gas emissions caused by today’s food production system which could also be reduced by alternative diets.

While acknowledging high prices for healthy food are due to a variety of factors from insufficient diversification and inadequate food storage to domestic subsidies that favor staples, the report called an “urgent rebalancing of agricultural policies and incentives.”

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