The medical fraternity is holding a crisis meeting to deliberate on the welfare of the frontline medics as deaths of healthcare workers continue to be recorded.
The Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacist and Dentists Union yesterday announced the loss of four members to the virus in just 24 hours.
The deaths among the medics have been blamed on the inability of public hospitals to deal with the increased number of Covid-19 patients. This has heightened the risk of infection due to the use of substandard protective equipment.
“Today is a dark day for the medical fraternity, the death of four of colleagues in the last 24 hours is devastating news to the profession, we condole with the families of our departed colleagues and may their souls rest in peace,” said Dr Chibanzi Mwachonda, acting secretary-general.
Data from unions shows that about 800 doctors, 320 clinical officers and 600 nurses have so far been infected. Fifteen nurses and six doctors have died.
By September this year, more than 900 health workers in Kenya had tested positive for the coronavirus since the country reported its first case in March.
Others are currently severely ill and are admitted to intensive care units.
Dr Mwachonda listed the doctors as Emarah Ashraf, Hudson Alumera, Jackiline Njoroge and Faith Kanjiru Mbabu, bringing the total number of healthcare workers who have succumbed to the virus to 31 since the disease was first detected in March.
“KMPDU has convened a special meeting to deliberate on the way forward on the welfare, occupational, safety and health of all doctors in the country.
“All doctors are instructed not to risk their lives as per section 42 (2) of the Occupational Safety Health Act 2007 pending the resolution of the meeting,” he said.
“All doctors abstain from duties where the work environment is unsafe.”
Prof Lukoye Atwoli, Dean Aga Khan University Medical College, said some Kenyans who still believe that Covid-19 is just flu are compromising the war on the disease.
“Let’s protect ourselves. Let’s protect our loved ones. Let’s protect our healthcare workers,” he tweeted.
Kenya has so far recorded 70,245 coronavirus cases and 1,269 deaths while 45,766 recoveries have also been recorded.