What you need to know:
- Awuor, a theatre nurse at Rachuonyo South Sub-county Hospital, died at the Kisii County Teaching and Referral Hospital due to Covid-19.
- Awuor’s family has accused the Kisii facility of negligence and similar allegations have been raised against the Rachuonyo hospital where she worked.
- The National Nurses Association of Kenya called on county governments to take care of its members since they are in the frontlines in the fight against the virus.
Colleagues of Homa Bay nurse Marian Awuor Adumbo, who died from the coronavirus last week, demanded compensation for her family during her burial on Friday.
Awuor, a theatre nurse at Rachuonyo South Sub-county Hospital, died at the Kisii County Teaching and Referral Hospital on August 2.
Her workmates said the government should compensate her family as it was directly responsible for her death.
Awuor’s family has accused the Kisii facility of negligence and similar allegations have been raised against the Rachuonyo hospital where she worked.
During the brief morning funeral at Nyandonge village in Kasipul Constituency, it was alleged that there were delays at Rachuonyo, to where Awuor was first admitted after exhibiting Covid-19 symptoms.
Her family claimed it took five hours for a Red Cross ambulance to travel from Homa Bay Town to Oyugis to pick her up and that her condition worsened as they waited.
She was to be transferred to the Kisii hospital, reportedly the only one in the region which had space in its Intensive Care Unit (ICU) section.
Ironically, five ambulances escorted the hearse that transported Awuor’s body from the mortuary in Kisii back to Oyugis on Friday.
Rachuonyo South Sub-county Hospital denied the negligence claims, with Medical Superintendent Stephen Okello saying it did all it could for the nurse.
He described the nurse as a dedicated worker who also responded to emergencies at night.
The Kisii hospital has also denied the accusation.
Awuor’s colleagues also asked their employer for timely salary payment, provision of enough Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and a good working environment.
The nurse died on August 2, two weeks after giving birth to a baby boy.
Mourners heard that even while pregnant, she continued offering services to patients at her station.
The National Nurses Association of Kenya called on county governments to take care of its members since they are in the frontlines in the fight against the virus.
The union’s national leader Alfred Obengo and deputy leader Moses Chirchir said it was unethical for Awuor to have been working while expectant and that she should have been given a break.
"The World Health Organization does not recommend an expectant woman’s presence in a hospital because of the risk of infection," Mr Obengo said.
The union claimed at least five of its members have died in the past week due to Covid-19.
Some of the deaths were attributed to lack of PPEs, with Mr Chirchir saying most health workers in dispensaries and health centres in villages are not protected from the virus.
Awuor’s burial took place as a strike by health workers in Homa Bay entered its fifth day.
They are demanding June and July salaries and protesting against poor working conditions and the lack of PPEs.
Amos Dulo, the Homa Bay Liaison Officer for the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU), said the county should compensate Awuor’s family as she died in the line of duty.
Lake Basin Development Authority chair Odoyo Owidi described what happened to Awuor in the hands of her colleagues as unfortunate and called for civic education on the management of Covid-19.
Among the ministry’s recommendations for quick recovery are a health diet and adherence to the guidelines it has issued on fighting the spread of the virus.
Mr Owidi regretted that the virus is being perceived as a death sentence yet it is not.
"Let us manage the airways before we contact the virus. Do the same to what you eat and how you interact with each other. We must eliminate the fear that contracting the virus is equal to death," he said.
Awuor’s two and half hour burial ceremony was witnessed by security officers who ensured strict adherence to Covid-19 guidelines including physical distancing and wearing face masks.
Colleagues in PPEs carried the coffin to the grave.