Kenyatta University as already made it to the news as one of the Kenyan institutions of higher learning at the forefront of the fight against COVID19. If the ventilator made by a group of KU students is approved by the government, Kenya will join a host of just few nations with the capacity to manufacture ventilators. This is a proud moment for the Kenyan student as we are now actively involved in the fight against the novel coronavirus.
In our series of #StudentVoices where we get to speak to students from different institutions on how #COVID19 has affected their studies, we talk to Ms Katile Mutuku, a Bachelor of Pharmacy student at Kenyatta University. She is also a Director at Youth Barrier Breakers Africa; a volunteer at Hijabi Mentorship and a strong campaigner for Girls & Youth SDGs.
Student and University Preparedness
Kenyatta University closed down on Tuesday 17th March 2020 and Ms Mutuku believes that the students were well equipped with information on how to protect themselves.
“Most students are well equipped bout information on Corona since most of them are on social media and get information daily on cause,sign,symptoms and prevention on corona virus infection” she said.
While publishing the memo on the indefinite closure of schools, most universities shared info on what students need to do to protect themselves. Kenyatta university was not left behind as its various departments shared with the students how to deal with corona infection prevention.
Apart from Kenyatta University, Mt Kenya University and Dedan Kimathi University of Technology have also been at the forefront in the war against COVID19.
Ms Mutuku notes that “MKU and Dedan Kimathi University of Technology have helped manufacture hand sanitizers. This means students and staff are equipped on measures to safeguard themselves.
She adds: “Closing most universities mean they do take quarantine method as an effective way to curb the virus.
“Most Medical students have knowledge about the virus e.g Pharmacy and Medicine school have a topic on viruses on which corona is a topic of discussion.”
Effects of the Coronavirus on Students
The major impact that COVID19 has had on students is the cancellation of classes. According to Ms Mutuku, “this will lead to prolongation of semester dates, graduation delays and postponement of some important events.
“For students who stay in hostels they have to relocate and go home with immediate effect which is a mental torture in some sense
“Events like games, music festivals, drama festivals, innovation days all stand canceled indefinitely.”
Katile Mutuku wonders how the planning for such events that usually happens on a definite calendar year in year out will be.
The situation is even worse for Kenyatta University students who stay off-campus. With universities closed and a lock down on in some counties, Ms Mutuku wonders if these students will be forced to pay house rents for the rooms they stay in if the lock down is prolonged.
Likelihood of Depression.
Mutuku says: “For the campus lady, some might undergo depression. For instance, a girl whose relationship was in a problematic relationship and is now on lock down with the boyfriend. Where will she get help?
“A girl who was pregnant and had maybe planned to deliver after her final exams; will the lady be forced by circumstances to deliver during exams?
“Take a look at the campus lady who does fashion and design, modelling and such like talent-based professions. With some of the events she had prepared for having been cancelled indefinitely, where does she get the consolation?
“This campus girl who sells clothes or had opened a chips place to earn some money during free time; with no students on campus and business closed, what happens to her? 😞😞”
According to Ms Mutuku, all these are a recipe for depression if help does not come their way.
What can students do?
“Students should follow the guidelines strictly on protection on infection of the COVID-19” nots Ms Mutuku.
“They should share with their friends about the news upcoming since We love ,We Care and We Are Concerned about the welfare of others.
“Health at first priority, Education be a basic need. So we should Educate those whom aren’t aware and take maximum protection to be safe.”