Medic terms proposal to retain aged, retired ICU staff ‘risky’

Tuesday, July 28th, 2020 12:00 |
A medic holds a vaccine. Photo/PD/COURTESY

Irene Githinji @gitshee

President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday directed the Ministry of Health to develop a protocol to temporarily retain retired anaesthetists and Intensive Care Unit (ICU) staff.

The President said the retired medics are expected to support the medical staff assigned to dealing with the killer coronavirus cases in counties. 

“I direct that the ministry will develop a protocol to temporarily retain retired anesthetists and ICU staff to support the medical staff assigned to dealing with serious Covid-19 cases in the counties,” said the President in his address on the pandemic.

But with the new directive, the Kenya Medical Association (KMA) was concerned on the state of affairs as pertains the health human resource with the heightened surge.

KMA Secretary General, Dr Simon Kigondu (pictured) termed the suggestion to retain the said retired staff as ‘tricky’. 

Kigondu observed that the number of anesthesiologist in the country is so low, with some  counties having none.  

In addition, he explained that by virtue of their age, retired anesthesiologist and ICU staff fall in the risk group of contracting the disease.

“Older people are at higher risk of infection, and it therefore goes against human resource for health recommendations. 

Irriducible minimums

Again, not all counties in public health facilities have anesthesiologist and those with have always had plans to leave,” Dr Kigondu told the People Daily yesterday.

He said that even before Coronavirus case was reported, they had always insisted on the need to employ additional medical workers to be able to deal with not only medical health care but also the disease surge.  

“The basis of employing more medical human resource was that we had stretched staff even before the disease struck and we would require more to deal with both normal care and Covid-19,” he said. 

Dr Kigondu also stated that the system is stretched because staff infected require at least 21 days away from duty while those exposed take to quarantine.

He said hiring has not been possible, which is part of the reason they have been advocating for a Health Commission to coordinate the process. 

This came as the President lauded governors for their efforts in fighting the disease saying that over 70 per cent of counties have met the set irreducible minimums agreed on a few weeks ago.

“This is only the start. I have urged them to do more to reach full compliance and to go even further.

I have promised to work with them to help keep Kenyans working and producing as much as possible during this time,” said the President.

The President also noted that there is no competition between counties and national government,  but a common goal to contain the virus. 

“This is a war that we shall either drown together or hold each other up and see the glory of God,” he said.

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