KMPDU raises alarm over medics in quarantine, withheld allowances for county workers

KMPDU raises alarm over medics in quarantine, withheld allowances for county workers

The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union has raised the alarm over a looming crisis after workers were placed in quarantine as the country battles  coronavirus.

According to KMPDU acting Secretary General Mwachonda Chibanzi, the numbers are alarming as they seem to be rising.

“We have 10 nurses, 10 clinical officers and over 70 other healthcare workers under quarantine as we speak who were on the frontline handling those who had put under mandatory quarantine and  those in the hospitals. And remember even the child who died at the Kenyatta National Hospital those workers who had come into contact were exposed so they are in quarantine,” he said.

Dr. Chibanzi further cited the recent coronavirus case in Siaya saying a good number of healthcare professionals were also quarantined after the incident.

He said this has depleted the number of workers who would have been on the frontline handling the coronavirus pandemic.

KMPDU opines that should the situation persist, the number of working staff will be depleted hence jeopardizing the fight against COVID-19.

The union reiterated the need for the government to expedite acquisition of Personal Protective Equipment for all medics in the country.

There are fears that health workers who come into contact with COVID-19 patients are at risk of exposing themselves, their families and people receiving treatment for other ailments.

Additionally, KMPDU is proposing that the government identify hotels near health facilities to accommodate workers on duty during the pandemic.

“This is urgent in Kenyatta University Teaching and Referral Hospital, Kenyatta National Hospital, Mbagathi District Hospital, Coast General Teaching and Referral Hospital and other county referral hospitals treating suspected and confirmed COVID-19 patients,” Dr. Chibanzi said in a statement.

The union further proposes that the government provide transport to the accommodation facilities that will be identified; catering facilities; adequate PPEs including N95 masks; as well as face shields, masks, goggles, scrubs and gowns.

They are also seeking designate testing centres for healthcare workers.

In terms of employment, KMPDU says the 14-day window and should be reduced to half: 7 days for submission of applications and then another 7 days for employment, training and deployment.

Kirinyaga and Lakipia counties have also been urged to reinstate health workers who according to KMPDU were unprocedurally dismissed.

“We also urge Governor of Taita Taveta County to reinstate illegally withheld allowances for 16 doctors on study leave, currently working on the frontline in various teaching and referral hospitals in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the statement adds.

Kwale County is also on the spot for withholding 10-month salaries for 14 doctors.