According to the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union, hospitals are requiring doctors that are asymptomatic to continue working despite the risk of infecting patients.
The union officials disclosed this information while appearing before the Senate Health Committee on Thursday, November 19.
Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) Secretary-General Chibanzi Mwachonda speaking to the media on April 13, 2020.
“With a shortage of health workers in Kenya, doctors who tested positive for coronavirus still attend to patients since the number of those who are severely ill has gone up.
“If doctors get the virus and show no symptoms, they are still made to work. Only those with symptoms or are severely ill are excluded from duty. We’re putting our lives and those of patients at risk. We’re stretched,” the union’s secretary-general Chibanzi Mwachonda stated.
Nominated senator Beth Mugo, a member of the committee, argued that doctors who tested positive needed to go on a 14-day self-isolation break.
Mwachonda, however, maintained that the country was facing a shortage of health workers and that more needed to be employed.
“The workforce is stressed and stretched. They are wounded and demotivated and this is part of the reason we issued a 21-day strike notice,” he stated.
As of Wednesday, November 18, 2,369 health care workers had tested positive for the virus. Of this, 1,186 are male and 1,183 are female.
At the same time, the cumulative fatality of healthcare workers stands at 30.
KMPDU has since requested an audience with President Uhuru Kenyatta to deliberate on the way forward regarding the welfare of frontline healthcare workers.
President Uhuru Kenyatta speaking in Parliament during the State of the Nation Address on Thursday 12 November 2020.