In Summary
  • Already, the government has started recruiting an additional 6,000 personnel to beef up the health sector.
  • The imperative is that the government has to intensify the training of existing medics to deal with the rising infections.

The government has demonstrated a strong determination to contain the spread of the coronavirus as the stringent controls adopted have helped to stem the tide.

But the measures are largely public-facing and have left out service providers and caregivers, namely, medical staff handling the patients.

Doctors, nurses and other paramedics have raised concerns about lack of protective kits.

The problem might be pervasive and experienced in other jurisdictions too, but the matter cannot be taken lightly.

Health personnel have to be protected and given the impetus to lead in clinical management and care. The government has to listen to the medics and resource them appropriately.

The situation is particularly bad in counties, where health facilities themselves are inadequate and provisions such as Covid-19 protective gear are in short supply.

The fact that counties are cash-starved and their capacity to procure such provisions is thoroughly constrained makes the matter even more worrying.

PLANNING

This is a challenge we must deal with. Projections by the Health ministry indicate that infections may hit 1,000 in a week’s time and multiple tenfold by the end of the month.

On Saturday, the toll reached 126, with four additional cases reported. Clearly, the risk is great.

But, scary as they are, the purpose of such projections is to inform planning. And that involves thinking through health facilities and their capacity to hold infections, medical personnel, equipment and supplies.

Often, the tendency is to concentrate on the physical facilities at the expense of human resources and their requirements.

Besides the protective kits, medical personnel handling patients require proper facilities such as bathrooms for their own personal care and hygiene.

Not only must they protect themselves, but their families too. Indeed, the families need assurance that their loved ones are safe and comfortable at their workplaces.

TRAIN MEDICS

Related to this is staff shortage. Already, the government has started recruiting an additional 6,000 personnel to beef up the health sector.

Even so, the new recruits have to be trained and inducted to get to the grind, and that takes time.

Currently, just a few doctors, nurses and paramedics have been trained, and what that means is that they work long hours.

The imperative is that the government has to intensify the training of existing medics to deal with the rising infections.

During all the press briefings, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe has never spared a chance to applaud the medics, calling them frontline soldiers. Such commendation must be matched with tangible action.