The medical fraternity is questioning Kenya’s preparedness in protecting its front-line soldiers against coronavirus after a doctor in Kisii was suspended.
The doctor is said to have refused to attend to a patient who was exhibiting coronavirus-like symptoms because he did not have protective gear.
The doctor at Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital had asked for an N-95 mask.
When it wasn’t made available, the medic refused to attend to the patient, a move that has put his job on the line.
The hospital head says he may be dismissed even as thousands of healthcare givers around the world are exposed to coronavirus with Italy reporting 55 deaths among doctors.
The decision to suspend the doctor in Kisii has not gone down well with the medical fraternity.
“When these people are not protected what are we doing? We are exposing them to the public: they have families they go to, they have a community!” Dr Stella Bosire lamented.
She added that in countries hardest hit by coronavirus: “3o per cent of infections are among health care workers and up to 10% of health care workers are dying. In this country, if it gets to that point, 30 per cent of us will be doctors. That means that I am at 0.3 probability of getting sick.”
Healthcare professionals globally have used the language of war to describe the struggle against the COVID-19.
And according to the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU), the Kisii case is a perfect example of Kenyan soldiers left exposed.
The union says even though the slightly more than 5000 protective gears have been distributed to centres with active coronavirus cases, they are not enough.
Given the increasing number of positive cases each day, KPMDU adds that Kenyan figures could hit 1000 by mid-April.
According to KPMDU Secretary-General Chibanzi Mwachonda; if that happens, then Kenya could be staring at a crisis especially if health workers become part of the statistics.
He reiterated that the role of a hospital manager is to support health workers and “when they raise concerns about their working conditions and safety, then they need to be listened to.”
Coronavirus has left hospitals and health care systems around the world on the brink of collapse.
Even though Kenya is yet to confirm any case of doctors or other health workers contracting the virus, reports indicate that close to 15 doctors are in quarantine.
“My colleagues, my friends who have been quarantined because they came into contact…you’ve heard of the one patient who did not disclose and this comes out of stigma…then if you remove any number out of the group that is supposed to be helping out then there’s a problem,” Dr. Yubrine Moraa said.