Three health workers were among 95 new COVID-19 cases reported by Kenya’s Ministry of Health, an official said on Monday.
Health Chief Administrative Secretary Rashid Aman said that the three workers are from Nyeri County in the central Kenya region.
Aman also reported that 97 patients were discharged in the last 24 hours, the highest number since Kenya reported its first virus case, raising the total number of recoveries to 849. Kenya’s nationwide tally of confirmed cases currently stands at 2,862 while the death toll currently is 85.
Aman said that it was inevitable that some health care workers would get infected adding that being infected with COVID-19 was not a death sentence and that one stood a good chance of recovering from it.
“This tells you that our health care workers who are in the frontline are also at risk and from time to time we will see some of these health workers turning positive,” he said.
Aman, however, pointed out that health workers were not the only frontline workers who were likely to get infected by the virus by virtue of interacting with COVID-19 cases.
“Take, for instance, the border points where we have the truck drivers coming in. We have immigration officers there, we have security officers there, we have port health officers there. All these will get in contact with people who have been possibly infected.”
“This is a risk, it is an occupational risk. Therefore, from time to time, we are likely to see these individuals may get infected, not because they are not well protected.”
Aman said the government was ensuring that it was providing the necessary personal protective equipment as the health workers went about their duties to prevent their infection.
“If you look at the kind of expenditures that the ministry and the counties are undertaking much of it is going to PPEs for the purpose of protecting health care workers, for the purpose of protecting others and generally containing the spread of the virus.”
Last month, World Health Organisation Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus appealed to countries around the world to improve the working conditions for nurses.
Ghebreyesus said that it was important that countries properly equip and compensate nurses who were putting their lives at risk for the greater good of humanity, especially in such times of crisis.
The International Council of Nurses (ICN) said that thousands of nurses have been infected with COVID-19 and hundreds have already died, but many governments were unable to say exactly how many as they are not collecting such data.
The ICN said this failure was putting more nurses and their patients in danger during the fight against COVID-19.