Twenty Kenyan healthcare workers have tested positive for the coronavirus in the past two weeks, bringing the total number of the key frontline personnel in the country's Covid-19 fight to 54 or 3.3 percent of the 1,618 confirmed cases to date.
Health director-general Patrick Amoth, however, said the country had yet to lose a healthcare worker to the virus, even as it recorded a new high of 147 confirmed cases, clouding calls to reopen the economy from next week.
“Of course healthcare workers are the first line of defence, by nature of their work. As they carry out their mandate they are usually exposed to the infection,” said Dr Amoth at a media briefing in Tigoni, Kiambu County on Thursday.
“I am happy to report to you that we have not lost any healthcare worker and all those under isolation and various treatment centers are doing well... We will continue giving them support and by providing them with personal protective equipment (PPEs) and also giving them capacity building (training) so that we can ensure their safety.”
During the briefing, the Ministry of Health said that it had stepped up efforts to provide healthcare workers with quality personal protective equipment (PPEs). The ministry announced last week that it will be sourcing all PPEs locally after halting the importation of defective ones. Local factories have stepped up the production of PPEs after the government started sourcing locally.
Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) has in the past decried the government’s slow issuing of PPEs to the frontline healthcare workers. Demand for PPEs is set to grow as cases soar and spread continues across the country.
Nairobi accounted for 90 of the 147 cases confirmed Thursday, with 35 from Kibera, one of the most populous informational settlements in Kenya, while 41 cases were also found in Mombasa.
The virus was also reported in Nyeri, Embu and Murang’a for the first time, bringing the number of counties with confirmed cases to 32.