Hospitals overwhelmed as more health workers contract COVID-19

KMPDU Secretary General Dr. Chibanzi Mwachonda during a past briefing./COURTESY

As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise in the country, doctors’ unions have called on the government to employ more health workers to help the relief doctors who they claim are overwhelmed.

The union says, more and more health workers have contracted COVID-19 and go into isolation and create health workforce gaps that are yet to be filled by the government.

“Lack of replacement of health workers who go to isolation has led to overworking of remaining staff leading to burnout of the remaining health workforce, that is leading to more infection and more dropouts,” Said Kenya Medical Pharmaceutical and Dentist Union Secretary-General Chibanzi Mwachonda.

Mwachonda noted that over 500 health workers have already been infected with the virus thus, the health system will soon be understaffed and overwhelmed by the workload.

He, however, criticized the government for employing a new batch of foreign doctors from CUBA instead of giving the opportunity to our qualified local doctors that are now jobless.

“A contingent of 20 Cuban doctors landed in the country a few days ago. The employment of foreign doctors before giving an opportunity to local doctors is becoming commonplace and is not in good taste, ” He said.

“It seems to the Union that this is deliberate to cheapen labor by making Kenyan doctors desperate so that they take up any contract however bad it is,” He added.

The government sought the services of 20 specialized Cuban doctors to help in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe made the revelation while addressing the press in Murang’ a County last week stating that the Cuban doctors will arrive in the country on Thursday evening and will be stationed at the Kenyatta University Hospital for six months.