Unions demand release of Kenyan medics vulnerable to COVID-19


Unions demand release of Kenyan medics vulnerable to COVID-19
Medical staff treat a COVID-19 patient inside a field hospital built on a soccer stadium in Machakos, as the number of confirmed coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases continues to rise in Kenya, July 23, 2020.REUTERS/Baz Ratner

In Summary

  • The unions criticized the government saying that during the daily briefings, officials are always thanking healthcare workers yet they are not securing their welfare.
  • They also want the State to effect a compensation policy for frontline workers who die in the line of duty.
  • The union warned that failure to meet their demands in the next 21 days will lead to demonstrations countrywide.

Unions are demanding that Kenyan medics who are vulnerable to COVID-19 be released from active duty.

Also Read: Homa Bay nurse dies of COVID-19 complications a week after giving birth

Peterson Wachira, national chairman of the Union of Clinical Workers, said most of them are too exposed by the virtue of poor quality Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) availed to them.

“850 health workers have been infected and 16 have died from coronavirus. If you look at their profiles, they were either pregnant, had a pre-existing disease or condition or they are elderly. There is a human resource for health protocol for COVID-19 that had actually provided that health workers who belong to this vulnerable group were to be excluded from active duty ,” he said.

He added: “Though we have been calling for this the government has ignored our calls to do this as our colleagues continue dying.”

The union official warned that they will not be complacent to “subjecting or sacrificing” vulnerable health workers to risk of contracting and succumbing to COVID-19.

He reiterated that the lives of vulnerable medics are not negotiable and they must be excluded from active duty.

According to him, since the country registered its first COVID-19 case in March, their pleas have fallen on deaf ears.

He further criticized the government saying that during the daily briefings, officials are always thanking healthcare workers yet they are not securing their welfare.

The union noted that medical cover and life insurance for workers has not been effected by county governments to cushion medical officers.

The workers singled out salary delays in several counties as a major concern amid the fight against the pandemic.

Also Read: Health workers in Kisumu down tools over unpaid salaries

They also want the State to effect a compensation policy for frontline workers who die in the line of duty.

They stated that failure to meet their demands in the next 21 days will lead to demonstrations countrywide.

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Story By Erick Owenga
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