Third Eye

Do more to protect medics from virus

Monday, November 23rd, 2020 00:00 |
The late Dr. Anthony Were. Photo/PD/Courtesy

A member of the National Assembly last week moved colleagues to tears during a presentation on the plight of doctors fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.

He was reacting to concerns by representatives of health workers that they were losing colleagues in the battle against the virus. 

These deaths are mainly attributable to lack of protective gear.  Through their work, medics are bound by an oath to protect patients but this is coming increasingly at the cost of their own lives.  

The Health ministry says there have been 32 coronavirus-related deaths in the medical fraternity.

At least 2,352 healthcare workers have tested positive for the virus. The country has lost 12 doctors and 15 nurses,  while the rest of the deaths are recorded in other medical cadres.

This past weekend two specialist doctors died from coronavirus. One of them was a nephrologist and head of the Renal Unit at Kenyatta National Hospital, while the other was a dental surgeon.

By virtue of their work, medics are highly exposed to the virus.  Yet the country relies on their much needed services to save lives.

That is why the loss of medics should be a poignant reminder on the need to protect them and their families.

Medics have already threatened to go on strike if  the government doesn’t supply them with adequate protective gear and provide them with insurance cover.  

That sets the stage for a possible health crisis in the middle of a pandemic. Besides doctors, it is saddening that the country has lost top-notch  professionals in other fields, including university lecturers that have taken many years and investment to train.

Some of the doctors breathed their last as they saved lives. Indeed, most of the health-care workers getting infected are those working in non-Covid-19 wards. Statistics show that it takes nearly Sh700,000 to train a doctor  and Sh410,000 for a nurse. Such investment should not be allowed to go to waste.  

One of the consequences of the pandemic is that it is likely to destabilise our already weak health system due to attrition of medics.

The government, foreigners and generous Kenyans, have contributed a lot of cash in the fight against the virus. 

It is, therefore, unthinkable that medical workers, who are making a lot of sacrifices to save lives, lack the basic tools they require for the critical job. Doctors didn’t take the Hippocratic oath to die.

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