What you need to know:
- Most public hospitals are now asking relatives of patients to take them elsewhere, as most departments have been closed.
The past 10 or so days have been a nightmare in public hospitals right across the country since nurses and clinical officers downed tools to demand Covid-19 protective gear and risk allowances. As a result, operations have been paralysed and bearing the brunt are the majority poor patients who rely on public facilities for their healthcare.
Without these two key cadres of medical workers, even the doctors are handicapped. They need them to be able to provide the live-saving services, more so, during this coronavirus pandemic.
It is, of course, easy to fault the nurses and clinical officers for abandoning their patients. However, the situation could get worse if these highly skilled personnel risk their own lives by working without the personal protective equipment (PPE).
It is quite disappointing to note that the top national leadership, including Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe, has not given the crisis the attention it deserves. Even President Uhuru Kenyatta has been faulted for not mentioning the strike in his Jamhuri Day address, which was rich in politics, especially drumming up support for the BBI referendum.
The Health authorities appear to have been selective by choosing to dialogue with the doctors only, with the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists’ Union (KMPDU) postponing its strike, which would have begun at the same time.
So far, there is no indication that there could be breakthrough soon. Therefore, the doctors and dentists could also withdraw their services in the next four days.
Most public hospitals are now asking relatives of patients to take them elsewhere, as most departments have been closed.
The country is staring at a grim situation that could lead to the deaths of patients for lack of attention.
Quite annoying are the reports that as health workers risk their lives, PPEs bought with taxpayers’ money are lying in stores. The health authorities must resolve this crisis and save lives.