Clinical officers have called on the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) to release the Sh6 billion worth of Personal Protective Equipment that are lying idle in their stores.
The Kenya Union of Clinical Officers (KUCO) and the Kenya Clinical Officers Association, in their advisory to the government regarding the fight against the surge in Covid-19 infections, want the equipment distributed to the health facilities across the country.
The health professionals argued that the wellbeing of the frontline workers, who are confronted with the burden of dealing with increasing numbers of Covid -19 cases, need to be prioritised.
In a joint statement read KUCO secretary general Mr George Gibore, the clinical officers lamented that lack of proper PPEs has made them pay the ultimate price in the fight against the pandemic.
Mr Gibore noted that they have lost members to the virus while others remain vulnerable.
According to him, at least 2 clinical officers have died of covid -19 while more than 310 others, who have tested positive, are either admitted in isolation facilities or under home-based care across the country as a result of not having the right protective gears.
“The rising cases of health care workers contracting the virus is unfortunate and should be a reason for concern to all, more so, when this infection is directly attributable to the lack of the right PPEs even as the government insists to have the equipment worth Sh6 billion stored at Kemsa,” charged Mr Gibore.
The clinical officers further raised concerns over the high risk of infection that their members have been exposed to across the country.
Mr Gibore cited some counties including Uasin Gishu, Trans Nzoia and Nakuru, where its members are not using the right PPEs and are provided with a very limited supply.
The officials thus advised their members to avoid handling Covid-19 suspects without proper equipment and withdraw services whenever they are forced to work in an environment that exposes them to a risk of infection.
They also advised the government to ban all political and non-essential gatherings to tame the rising curve of infections.
In September, a tour of the Kemsa warehouse in Embakasi by the National Assembly Health Committee led by its chair Sabina Chege, established that the authority was holding supplies worth Sh6.1 billion, which it could not sell.
Kemsa had allegedly bought PPEs worth Sh7.1 billion but only sold supply worth Sh1 billion before cheaper products flooded the market.