As nurses mourned the demise of one of their own on Monday, it emerged that Kenya’s capital city, one of the most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, may be facing a disaster.
According to the National Nurses Association of Kenya (NNAK) and the Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN), it will soon be hard for the public to get health services as more medics contract the virus.
Counties have been on the spot for inadequate preparedness to handle the pandemic and the deaths of health workers who have complained of poor working environments.
Already, eight healthcare professionals have died while more than 600 are sick with the virus.
During a press conference on Monday, Nairobi’s KNUN chair Boaz Onchari claimed that five health facilities in Nairobi have either been closed or are about to be closed, because of increasing Covid-19 infections among health workers.
“In Nairobi, more than five facilities have been closed because the staff are either in isolation or in quarantine. Pumwani is on its knees because 64 staff have tested positive for Covid-19,” Mr. Onchari said.
“In the coming weeks, you will go to the hospital to seek services but you will get none, not because medics are on strike but because they will be in isolation or in quarantine,” he added.
Mukuru hospital had more than six cases as of July 31, Riruta five, Westlands eight, and Makadara three.
Mr. Onchari noted that members of the public go to these facilities for treatment of diabetes, hypertension, and tuberculosis so their closure will result in a crisis.
“People are dying at home because these facilities have been closed. In the next few days, health workers will not be able to perform their duties as expected and then we will find ourselves in a mess,” he said.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) could not confirm the allegations while the Nairobi Metropolitan Health Department did not respond to queries.
The information emerged as the nursing fraternity mourned 32-year-old Marian Awuor Adumbo who died on Sunday from Covid-19 complications, leaving behind a newborn baby boy.
She was the third nurse to die in five months due to the virus, after Clifford Manyara Mburia and Moses Gitonga Ringera.
“We have realized that county governments are not prepared to handle Covid-19. Our demands have not been met and what we need is action and fewer words for the benefit of our healthcare workers and our people,” said NNAK President Alfred Obengo.
Mr. Obengo said some of the counties where defective personal protective equipment has been reported include Kisumu, Vihiga, and Taita Taveta.
He demanded action by the county and national governments to ensure health workers are adequately equipped for their work.
“We will soon wake up to find no one can take care of our brothers and sisters in our healthcare facilities,” he said.
The healthcare professionals want enough PPEs, training on management of Covid-19, adequate psychological support, a bigger workforce, timely payment of allowances, special insurance support as well as a special risk allowance.