What you need to know:
- By Wednesday last week, statistics from the Ministry of Health showed that 905 health workers had so far contracted Covid-19.
James (not his real name), a doctor at the Coast General Teaching and Referral Hospital, is unsure how he contracted Covid-19.
But he suspects he was infected by either his colleagues who collect samples for coronavirus testing or the patients he treats at the largest referral hospital in the Coast region.
In his mid-30s, Dr James is among 78 health workers in Mombasa who have contracted the virus, but who are ostracised by the public and sometimes, their relatives.
He is asymptomatic but at times experiences mild coughing.
“Fear, stigma and discrimination are rife and it’s making things worse. But what worries most is the stigma. I was so scared when word went around that a doctor was very ill after contracting the virus. I faced the worst kind of stigmatisation. I had to seek psychiatric help to deal with my condition,” he told the Nation.
But as he confronts the virus, he says it has been a life-changing experience.
Dr James is now recuperating at home. He urged Kenyans to stop stigmatising Covid-19 patients because no one is immune.
This comes as the national government grapples to contain infection among its frontline health workers battling the pandemic.
By Wednesday last week, statistics from the Ministry of Health showed that 905 health workers had so far contracted Covid-19.
Ms Susan Mutua, the head of department of Public Health in the Ministry of Health, said a majority of those who have been infected have recovered, with a few dying.
Mombasa Public Health Chief Officer Pauline Oginga complained that health workers who have contracted the virus were being stigmatised.
The county government had to sensitise its frontline workers, especially those who collect samples.
“Whenever reports went out that a healthcare worker had contracted the virus, they started being discriminated against. This brought fears among them,” lamented Ms Oginga.
“We conducted weekly training, especially to those who were collecting samples. But after the training, out of 10, only two would go to work. They were scared,” she added.
The county has so far tested more than 42,000 people, with more than 2,000 positive results.
Ms Oginga further warned the residents against being complacent due to the drop in numbers as shown in the daily Covid-19 updates by the Ministry of Health, saying majority are no longer adhering to the protective measures such as wearing of face masks, sanitising and maintaining social distancing.
“This is dangerous, don’t let your guard down. Let’s follow the protocols,” she insisted.