Kenyan medics issue strike notice over COVID-19 doctor deaths

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A doctor dressed in personal protective equipment (PPE) prepares a swab to test a patient for Covid-19 at the Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya, on Friday, April 24, 2020. The East African country enforced a curfew as part of measures to reduce the risk of contagion amid fears that Covid-19 patients will overrun its health system. Photographer: Patrick Meinhardt/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A doctor dressed in personal protective equipment (PPE) prepares a swab to test a patient for Covid-19 at the Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya, on Friday, April 24, 2020. The East African country enforced a curfew as part of measures to reduce the risk of contagion amid fears that Covid-19 patients will overrun its health system. Photographer: Patrick Meinhardt/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Kenya is staring at a health crisis as doctors threatened to down their tools for what they term as lack of support from the government.

The strike notice follows the deaths of four doctors last week in a period of 24-hours, and hundreds of others who are in the healthcare industry have contracted COVID-19.

As the country continues to witness a surge in COVID-19 cases, healthcare workers have vowed that in 21 days they will down their tools following an increase of deaths among their colleagues at an alarming rate.

The doctors are accusing the  Kenyan government of neglecting them also complain of poor working conditions with a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) used to protect the healthcare workers from contracting COVID-19.

Since the first COVID-19 case was reported in the East African country, 25 doctors out of 2,200 infected have succumbed to the disease, including 10 senior specialists in their field of work.

Speaking during an interview with Anadolu agency, Kenya Medical Practitioners and Pharmacists and Dentist’s Union (KMPDU) Secretary-General Chibanzi Mwachonda who issued the strike notice said that “doctors are dying on the frontline, they do not have adequate PPEs, they do not have comprehensive medical cover, there is no assurance on compensation for healthcare workers and as a result, we have lost doctors and that situation is unacceptable to us.”

Mwachonda urged the government to get “serious” in addressing the plight of frontline workers

“We must be paid an increased health allowance, we need dedicated health facilities in each county for treatment of doctors and we also need a constitutional health service commission to handle the matters of doctors,” Mwachonda added.

Kenya recorded 559 new virus cases on Monday, bringing the total number of COVID-19 cases in the country to 70,804.

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