MSF mounts pressure on county to resolve medics strike
Pressure is mounting on Homa Bay County government to resolve a health crisis that has paralysed services for a month.
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) warns that more people are likely to die if the health crisis is not resolved.
International medical humanitarian organisation said that, for instance, the situation at the Homa Bay County Referral Hospital is dire and needs urgent intervention.
According to MSF, death rate at the facility stood at 15 per cent of patients admitted prior to Covid-19 outbreak, with close to half of the patients dying within 24 hours of admission.
In a press statement, MSF’s head of mission, Anne Cugier, said the strike had come at a time when the country is battling Covid-19 pandemic.
“Emergency and lifesaving services should resume in Homa Bay urgently to alleviate suffering and preventable deaths,” said Cugier
Cugier further expressed concern that even the isolation facilities set up for Covid-19 treatment have been closed.
“With the impact of Covid-19, mortality rates have increased as people have stopped going to the hospital, and those who do, go too late, when they are in very critical state,” Cugier said.
Health workers including doctors, pharmacists, nurses, clinical officers and laboratory technicians downed tools to demand their salary arrears for the months of June, July and August.
As a result, residents, particularly the low-income earners, have been facing challenges especially when in need of health services from public hospitals.
MSF which also provides medical services in the hospital has expressed concern that lack of access to healthcare or delay in receiving medical attention resulting from the medics’ strike could cause higher deaths, many of which may go unrecorded.
Michael Ogalo, former West Gem councilor and a resident, has said termed it a violation of rights to miss health services in public health facilities.
He has warned that if the situation persists, they would be forced to go to the streets to demand their rights.
“Residents are at risk of dying because a majority cannot afford healthcare in private health facilities,” said Ogalo.
“We are appealing to the national government to solve the crisis so that residents can begin acquiring health services,” he added.
Health Executive Richard Muga revealed that negotiations with the health workers were ongoing and expressed optimism about the possibility of reaching consensus soon.
“We are making arrangements to pay the medics. I am optimistic that our talks will bear fruits,” said Muga.