Medics pour cold water on home-based care proposal

Tuesday, June 9th, 2020 00:00 |
KMPDU acting Deputy Secretary Dennis Miskellah (left) and acting Secretary General Mwachonda Chibanzi during a press briefing in Nairobi yesterday. Photo/PD/GERALD ITHANA

Medical practitioners yesterday expressed concerns that rushed home-based care without proper guidelines for Covid-19 patients will lead to surge in new cases.

 With the country Covid-19 cases nearing the 3,000 mark, Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union  (KMPDU) yesterday petitioned the Ministry of Health to improve primary health care first.

 KMPDU Secretary General Chibanzi Mwachonda acknowledged that public health facilities are stretched beyond capacity but releasing Covid-19 patients needs more community health workers.

 “There is a need for human resources to be factored in, community health care workers will help in surveillance and monitoring patients at home,” he said.

 He added that employment of nurses and other health workers in dispensaries and other health facilities at grassroot levels will help in managing Covid-19 patients who are currently attended at referrals and level four and five hospitals.

 Last week on June 4, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe hinted that increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases in the country overburden State personnel.

 Kagwe said hospitals will be discharging Covid-19 patients to go and recuperate at home adding isolation facilities are full and since 80 per cent of the patients in various hospitals are asymptomatic, they may be managed from home.

  “If this is implemented, it would free our health facilities from congestion,” he said.

 He added the government is looking into developing home-based and community care, provided that it’s in accordance with World Health Organisation protocols.

 In his State of the Nation address on June 6, President Uhuru Kenyatta directed Counties to put up at least a 300-bed isolation centres in two weeks as cases of Covid-19 surges.

 He counties should spend Sh5 billion conditional grants specifically to increase their healthcare capacity.

 KMPDU has welcomed the President directive and also his call for a Summit with governors.

Mwachonda said for the 300-bed capacity to be effective, the human resource component is critical.

 “KMPDU has developed Human Resource projections for each facility to ensure full functionality. We require 636 doctors across the three cadres,” he said.

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