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Medics: We’re ill-prepared for swelling Covid-19 numbers

Health workers have said they are struggling to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic and are ill-prepared to face the swelling numbers  as more medics get infected.

As the national and county health workers tackle the  pandemic, they say they are heading for a crisis without the necessary resources.

The medics said they have not been properly trained on handling Covid-19, lack the appropriate  protective gear and most  are now experiencing burnout.

Various cadres of health professionals are demanding better workplace protections as the country nears in Covid-19 peak yesterday said that the death of a senior public health officer in Wajir County due to lack of oxygen was worrying.

Mr Abdi Yussuf, who died on Friday, is the eight medic to succumb to the virus, with another 531 medics reported to have contracted Covid-19.

Clinical officers’ union chairman Peterson Wachira said medics are at high risk of getting the disease because they don’t have adequate protective gear.

“The death of eight medics from various counties with another 531 infected with Covid-19 has forced use to try and assess the situation and the biggest problem we have is the lack of proper protective gear,” he said.

The union’s  Secretary-General, Mr George Gibore, said that medics who perform procedures that are more likely to generate high concentrations of infectious respiratory aerosols than coughing, sneezing or talking are at increased risk of infection because most hospitals do not have the appropriate  masks.

“We conducted a joint health workers’ survey, which revealed that 72 percent of health workers performing aerosol-generating procedures do not have proper protective equipment. They do not have N95 masks while s 74 per cent are anxious that they are not using the protective equipment properly,” he said.

Mr Gibore said the survey, which assessed infection prevention  and control among health workers, found that only 24 per cent of medics had undergone a two-day training on Covid-19 as recommended by global  health bodies. He said 64 percent of the medics  have reported experiencing burnout from working long hours.

“We would like to implore the government to look at these challenges and ensure our welfare is secured especially since we are headed to the peak and we have not seen a significant increase in health workers,” he said.