The government has set up a Covid-19 isolation and treatment centre at Kenyatta National Hospital for health workers infected with the virus while in the line of duty.
However, the centre is barely enough for the rising numbers of frontline health workers who are getting infected across the country.
The Ministry of Health has advised county governments to set up similar centres for medics working in the devolved governments to reduce the number of Covid-19 referrals to KNH.
KNH dedicated its newly constructed Day Care Surgical Centre to the treatment of health workers infected with Covid-19. The hospital mobilised basic equipment to operationalise the facility.
“The centre is available and ready to provide treatment to health workers with a limited capacity of 50 general beds,” the Health Ministry said in a report to the Senate’s Health Committee.
The report said statistics show the positivity rate is at 19.5 per cent among health workers so far tested at KNH and the University of Nairobi College of Health Sciences.
“Based on this trend, KNH isolation centre for health workers is hardly adequate to provide care to infected KNH and University of Nairobi College of Health Sciences workforce of about 8,400 health workers,” the report said.
The Ministry of Health consequently advised county governments to set up centres for treating infected health workers.
“However, KNH continues to receive infected health workers in critical condition and those from the Nairobi Metropolitan area.”
Health workers have been demanding isolation facilities for the treatment of doctors and other frontline staff who contract the disease in the course of their work.
They have also been demanding adequate medical insurance and better employment terms for doctors and provision of personal protective equipment among others.
Already, nurses and clinical officers across the country have made good their threat to boycott work over poor working conditions.
The Kenyan National Union of Nurses said its 23,000 members will not resume work until their grievances are addressed by the government.
Doctors on the other hand postponed their strike for 14 days to give room for negotiations following a request by the health committees of both Houses of Parliament.
Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union however insisted that the strike will start on December 21 if the issues raised will remain unresolved.
KNH received funding of Sh140 million from the Ministry of Health to equip the isolation centre and tenders of key equipment closed on December 2.
“At KNH, at least 340 health workers have been confirmed to be Covid-19 positive and the hospital has resorted to using other wards for treatment of infected members of staff,” the report said.
It said the centre has engaged a multidisciplinary team to provide services in an effort to ensure best treatment outcomes.
The ministry said it is in the process of mobilising about Sh800 million for procurement and distribution of the stocks of personal protective equipment held at the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency.