What you need to know:
- Mr Joseph Njenga Chege, a nursing officer at the Mwea Mission Hospital, died at the Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral and Research Hospital where he had been transferred after his condition deteriorated.
- Dr Andrew Suleh, who is a former Kenya Medical Association (KMA) chairman and a renal physician, said that the country needs to boost its response capacity as the number of cases continues to increase.
A nurse and a member of county assembly have become the latest high-profile Kenyans to succumb to the coronavirus.
Mr Joseph Njenga Chege, a nursing officer at the Mwea Mission Hospital, died at the Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral and Research Hospital (KUTRRH) where he had been transferred after his condition deteriorated. In Kisii, Kiamokama MCA Kennedy Mainya is said to have died of respiratory complications at the Oasis Hospital in Kisii Town.
County Public Health Director Richard Onkware said the MCA had taken a Covid-19 test at Lancet Laboratories but they are yet to get his results: “We are confirming his Covid-19 status from Lancet. His samples were taken Saturday morning and the results are not yet back.”
At the same time, the death of the health worker due to Covid-19 complication has seen medics raise concerns over the safety of medical practitioners who handle Covid-19 patients.
Dr Andrew Suleh, who is a former Kenya Medical Association (KMA) chairman and a renal physician, said that the country needs to boost its response capacity as the number of cases continues to increase.
“Health workers are bearing the brunt of a failed health system with some not even having health cover. Some are not been paid on time and cannot pay out of pocket when the fall ill ,” he said. The nursing officer who was also a lecture at the nursing school in Mwea developed the Covid-19 like symptoms for two weeks before he was admitted at a local hospital.
Intensive care unit
After his condition worsened, he was transferred to KUTRRH and was admitted at the intensive care unit (ICU) and later on hooked to a ventilator. He becomes the latest health worker to succumb to the virus after Orthopedic Surgeon Dr Daniel Alushula who died last week.
According to the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU), Dr Alushula worked as a senior surgeon in Busia County.
“The medical profession is mourning the death of a Senior Orthopedic Surgeon Dr Daniel Alushula due to Covid-19 complications. The deceased was working at the Busia County Referral Hospital,” KMPDU said on Twitter. So far, 1,467 medics have been infected with the virus, with the worst-hit counties being Nairobi (505), Uasin Gishu (161), Mombasa (142), Kiambu (97), Kajiado (79), Garissa (50) and Nakuru (45). Nairobi and Uasin Gishu host national referral hospitals such as the KUTRRH in Nairobi and the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret.
319 ICU beds
Hospitals are already overwhelmed with the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Council (KMPDC) reporting that there are 273 facilities in the country have a bed capacity of 7,612.
However, of this total number of beds, the country only has 319 ICU beds for Covid-19 patients, which means that should the number of patients who need critical care go up then the healthcare system would easily be overwhelmed.
The increasing number of patients requiring admission has seen even private facilities such as the Nairobi Hospital dedicating some of their wards to Covid-19 patients only.
“This is to inform you that the hospital has been experiencing a surge in the number of Covid-19 cases requiring admission,” Nairobi Hospital Acting CEO Margaret Sirima said in a communication to workers.