‘We Spend 19 Hours In Hospitals, Not Bars’: Doctors Protest

November 25, 2020

The Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU) has censured Health CS Mutahi Kagwe over claims that doctors are contracting coronavirus outside health facilities.

KMPDU Secretary General Chibanzi Mwachonda said it was an insult to insinuate that medical practitioners are getting infected with COVID-19 in social places.

“Let me put this clear and to the Health Cabinet Secretary… this narrative that doctors are getting COVID-19 out of hospital must stop. Doctors spend up to 12 and 19 hours in hospitals serving Kenyans. So you cannot come and insult us and tell us that doctors are getting COVID-19 in bars. We will not take it lightly,” said Mwachonda.

At the same time, the KMPDU Secretary General maintained that the govt has neglected medical workers.

Dr. Mwachonda noted that there is an acute shortage of doctors in the country and demanded that each county should have at least 50 doctors before December 6, 2020, when they plan to down their tools.

“The Ministry of Health employed 188 doctors in August, they’re yet to be paid until now. They were employed on 6-month contract; they do not have a medical cover or any form of compensation and they were deployed to work in the isolation and treatment centres. The county governments are playing with this issue.

“The same doctors who were supposed to be working in isolation and treatment centres have now been deployed work in other departments in the hospitals to cover shortages. So there is an acute shortage of doctors in this country. Our demand is that each county must employ at least 50 doctors to cover for COVID-19 and other services. If this is not addressed equally we shall be on strike come the 6th of December,” said Mwachonda.

The KMPDU boss demanded that doctors who were fired by the Kirinyaga and Laikipia County Governments be reinstated.

The union also wants personal protective equipment (PPEs) held at the KEMSA warehouses released to healthcare workers.

“Those PPEs at KEMSA must be availed for the doctors and other healthcare workers. Whatever mechanism that will be used, they must be availed. We will not allow our members to die on the line of duty,” he stated.

Since the first COVID-19 case was reported in the country, at least 15 doctors have succumbed to the disease.

32 other healthcare workers have also succumbed to the virus with close to 25, 000 others infected countrywide.

“These deaths have been very painful. The lack of oxygen is real in the country. We cannot be talking about preparedness for 8 months and nothing is being done on the ground. All we are seeing is PR,” said Mwachonda.

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