Kenya’s medical fraternity called on both the county and national governments to handle the welfare of healthcare workers with greater urgency following the death of a doctor from COVID-19.
Dr. Adisa Lugaliki, an obstetrician and gynecologist, succumbed to the virus on Friday morning at the Kenyatta National Hospital, the country’s largest referral hospital. As of July 8, 257 healthcare workers have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the government.
There has been concern about the safety of healthcare workers who are treating patients all over the country with reporters regularly fielding questions about the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) and the status of infections among them.
However, with the death of Dr. Lugaliki, medics appear to have taken up the call to ensure their protection from the deadly virus a notch higher with medics’ unions championing for improvement in their welfare.
The secretary-general of the Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) Chibanzi Mwachonda took to Twitter to urge both levels of government to demand better working conditions and adequate equipping of healthcare workers who were putting their lives at risk during this period.
“As a medical fraternity we mourn the death of Dr. Doreen Adisa Lugaliki who has passed on today due to COVID-19. Frontline health workers need utmost protection, their Occupational Safety & Welfare is now an irreducible minimum!!” Mwachonda tweeted.
Mwachonda also appealed to Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta to follow up on the implementation of a directive for insurance and compensation to healthcare workers.
Prior to Lugaliki’s death, the government reaffirmed that it remained committed to protecting all its frontline workers by providing them with the necessary equipment to protect themselves as they went about their duties.
Kenya’s Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe earlier this week announced that 252 healthcare workers of all cadres had been employed to boost human resource capacity.
Kagwe’s junior, Health Chief Administrative Secretary Rashid Aman, who previously acknowledged that it was inevitable that some health care workers would get infected, said that being infected with COVID-19 was not a death sentence and that one stood a good chance of recovering from it.
Kenya currently has 9,726 confirmed COVID-19 cases after recording 278 new cases on Saturday. The East African nation has also recorded 184 deaths and 2,832 recoveries from the disease in total.