Covid-19: alarm over rise in infected medics

Dr Mwachonda Chibanzi, Acting Secretary General, Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists' Union. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • Mombasa has the highest number of infected health workers, followed by Nairobi and Kiambu.

The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) has raised concern over the growing number of health workers infected by Covid-19 in the country.

KMPDU Acting Secretary General Dr Chibanzi Mwachonda said that more than 80 health workers in various hospitals across the country have been infected with the virus, with more than 60 percent of the infections being work-related.

According to the union, health workers were being infected at hospital quarantine sites after coming in contact with coronavirus patients.

“The infection of healthcare workers with Covid-19 is on the rise with our latest data showing that 81 health workers have been infected. A majority of these infections are from contact with infected patients, which further reinforces our concern over provision of adequate and quality personal protective equipment (PPEs),” Dr Mwachonda said.

Mombasa has the highest number of infected health workers with 41 cases, followed by Nairobi (31) and Kiambu (4). Cases have also been recorded in Nyeri, Kitui, Machakos, Laikipia and Kajiado counties. 

The Health Ministry on Monday pointed out that three cases confirmed in Nyeri over the last 24 hours were health care workers. 

"Our health care workers being the frontline soldiers in this fight, are at a greater risk of contracting the disease. These are the people putting their lives on the line to protect thi nation.  We salute them," Health Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said in a statement.

With increasing infections across the country, the national government has also raised alarm over Covid-19 designated hospitals surpassing their capacity, particularly those at the county level. 

Dr Mwachonda noted that the current isolation bed capacity of these hospitals across the country are about 1,000 indicating that an expansion will also require an increase in the workforce.

“We applaud the move by the government in expanding hospital capacity to 300 beds in each county. However, there is need to have a matching number of healthcare workers at these new facilities. Although the country is increasing its level of preparedness, not all counties are prepared,” he added.

For counties to be well prepared for a surge in infections, the Union noted that an additional 1000 nurses, 360 clinical officers, 527 laboratory personnel and 636 doctors across the three cadres (pharmacists, dentists and medical doctors) will be required.

“Over and above the infrastructural requirements, the human resource component is critical in achieving the desired objective. Counties have the capacity and ability to expand their facilities with the funding they have received. We appeal that budgetary allocations for the required personnel should also be considered,” Dr Mwachonda added.


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