Covid-19: Kenya turns to retired health workers, extends nationwide curfew for 30 more days
London, July 28, 2020 (AltAfrica)-With the number of Covid-19 cases rising unabated, Kenya on Monday looked to retired intensive care health workers for the support of those in need of round-the-clock medical attention.
In a statement on the country’s statistics, Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe placed Kenya’s Covid-19 caseload at 17,975, saying 440 more people had tested positive for the disease with total deaths figures reaching 285
As the numbers kept rising, President Uhuru Kenyatta, in his 10th address on the pandemic on Monday, instructed the Health ministry to develop a protocol to temporarily bring back retired anesthetists and ICU staff in hospitals in their respective counties.
Kenyatta also extended the nationwide dusk-to-dawn curfew for 30 more days urging Kenyans to be realistic as the state cannot police everyone.
“It is time for everyone to get realistic, as parents, as brothers and sisters we need to look around and ask ourselves what is my responsibility to those around me and those I care about. Government cannot police the morality of its citizens who must have responsibility to each other. We cannot have a policeman to police every home,” President Kenyatta said.
Covid-19 has stretched Kenya’s strained health human resource, which suffers from a chronic shortage of healthcare workers — 10 qualified medical personnel per 10,000 population against the recommended 22: 10,000 — but there are even fewer qualified healthcare workers in intensive care, such as anaesthetists.
But the decision to hire retired health workers is not applauded in health circles.
On his Twitter page, Dr Andrew Suleh wrote: “Instead of hiring high-risk retired people, why not first absorb those young health workers who are jobless?”
Instead of hiring high risk retired people why not first absorb those young health workers who are jobless #COVID19— Andrew Suleh MD (@andrewsuleh) July 27, 2020
The age group is also one that would be categorised as vulnerable to Covid-19.
In a study on nurses for neonates (babies under month), researcher Jecinta Nzinga, from the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri)-Wellcome Trust noted that while there are around 50,000 nurses registered to practise, fewer than 17,000 offer services in the public sector.
Health Director-General Dr Patrick Amoth said the ICU is one of the most resource-consuming in Covid-19 patient care.
Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe Kagwe said the country tested 3,197 samples in 24 hours, raising the total number of tests carried out in the country to 279,612. He also announced 90 more recoveries, which brought the total to 7,833.
The youngest of the new patients was a year old and the oldest 84, while female patients were 154 in number and male patients 286. Kenyans numbered 437 while the rest were foreigners.
Baringo County became the 45th of 47 counties to report a case of the coronavirus, recording its first five patients.
Nairobi accounted for 326, Machakos 32, Kajiado 17, Kiambu 17, Uasin Gishu 13, Mombasa 10 and Murang’a and Kilifi five each. Busia, Wajir and Nandi had two each while Nyeri, Embu, Taita Taveta and Tharaka-Nithi had one each.