City health services in limbo after clinical officers down tools
Services in Nairobi health facilities have been affected after the Kenya Union of Clinical Officers urged its members not to work without personal protective equipment (PPEs).
A spot-check in four of the 105 dispensaries found them closed. Most of the dispensaries are run by clinical officers.
Nairobi has 280 clinical officers working in the 105 health centres.
And KUCO Nairobi branch chairman Tom Nyakaba said 80 of them work as administrators and 80 others as specialists hence the actual number of those in active service at the frontline is 120.
One of the 120 has tested positive for Covid-19 and is out of service. The clinical officers are the backbone of all the hospitals including the levels four, five and referrals.
Patients going to the hospitals are in danger. Because the crowding violates the social distancing recommended by the world health organisation.
“At Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital where I work, we have six clinical officers at the triage who receive about 2,000 patients each in a day. They send them to different sections depending on the nature of sicknesses and one patient can return to the same officer two times for further instructions,” Nyakaba said.
“You cannot tell who among these patients has Covid-19. Therefore if the first infects you, you continue infecting others, then later infect your family. That is why we are saying the government cannot win this without getting the first things right – protecting its soldiers in the fight against the disease.”
KUCO chairman Peterson Wachira said the union was concerned by the handling of health workers preparedness in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said that the frontline workers have not been trained on Covid-19 and especially on personal protective measures when handling a suspected case, “which is paramount to build confidence in our officers”.
Wachira said the government should consider directing patients with coronavirus like symptoms not to go to hospitals and instead call to be picked by health workers with PPEs.