As Kenya is continuing to battle the third wave of coronavirus infections, The Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union, KMPDU, has warned Kenyans against lowering their guard in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic as the daily number of infections and deaths continue to rise sharply. According to stats by the ministry of health as of Tuesday, the daily infection rate in the country had risen to 22.1%, over 135 patients were in the Intensive Care Unit 34 of whom were on ventilatory support, 93 on supplemental oxygen, and eight on observation.
The union admits that these numbers have already overwhelmed the carrying capacities of hospitals and the number of healthcare workers in the country. KMPDU acting secretary-general Dr. Chibanzi Mwachonda says there is an acute shortage of doctors in the country. Already 10 doctors are admitted in various facilities across the country as this month has seen an increase in the number of healthcare workers infections.
Dr. Mwachonda while addressing the press at the Union’s offices in Nairobi said, last year the government employed only 250 doctors in isolation and treatment centers, and close to 100 doctors have left in search of better pastures. Mwachonda has called on county governments to provide PPE’s for the healthcare workers as the ministry of health and national treasury work on contract renewal of 156 doctors working in isolation and treatment centers.
Meanwhile, despite a few side effects of the AstraZeneca vaccine, KMPDU has appealed to its members to turn up and receive the vaccine noting that there is a low turnout. The union attributes this hesitancy to non-involvement, sensitization, and awareness among healthcare workers for the government. Nevertheless, it has vowed to embark on a nationwide campaign to increase the vaccine uptake by its members but at the same time calling on the government to scale up training, risk communication, and awareness about the vaccine.