BY NAMULONGO PETER,NAIROBI,21ST,JULY,2020- The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) on Tuesday asked the government to employ an additional 2,350 doctors in the next two weeks citing a rising number of indisposed medics due to increased COVID-19 infections among medical practitioners.
Addressing the press during the union’s 8th briefing on the pandemic on Tuesday, the union’s Secretary General Chibanzi Mwachonda proposed employment of 50 doctors per county.
The union said it had 1,000 doctors, pharmacist and dentists in its records who are yet to be engaged in gainful employment.
“The focus has been on isolation and bed capacity but the Human resource component hasn’t been given priority it deserves, KMPDU has a database of 1,000 workers willing to serve the country. Every county deserves to add an additional at least 50 doctors,” he said.
“This is a matter of priority, we are hoping that in the next two weeks this healthcare workers will be on ground, other wise you will not have any healthcare workers taking care of you,” Mwachonda added.
He said that more than 500 health workers have been infected creating a gap in healthcare facilities with more workers experiencing burnout due to increased workload.
As of July 14, the Ministry of Health noted that a total of 429 health staff nationwide had been infected with COVID-19, representing 4.2 per cent of the cases reported in the country since March 14.
“What is now beginning to hamper COVID-19 response is that the number of workers getting infected and going into isolation. Over 500 workers are exposed and that means the workforce is overstretched,” KMPDU Secretary General noted.
The union faulted the recent government decision to hire Cuban doctors saying qualified local doctors are yet to be engaged, four months since the first coronavirus case was reported.
“That move is in bad taste, you cannot explain how you leave your Kenyan citizens trained by taxpayers money out of employment and bring foreigners when we have not exhausted our own pool of our own healthcare workers,” Chibanzi stated.
KMPDU further urged Kenyans to take individual responsibility and abide by the health ministry guidelines in order to prevent a crisis in the wake of increased infections countrywide.