NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 11 – The government has been urged to provide psychosocial support to health care workers in the wake of coronavirus.
Kenya had recorded 189 positive cases by Friday, with seven deaths a month since the first case was reported in Kenya.
According to a survey conducted by the Kenya Union of Clinical Officers, 85.9 percent of the health workers are reported to be extremely anxious about the risk they run in the course of their duties.
The Union’s Secretary-General George Gibore said the study showed 80.1 percent of staff were stressed by the work they undertake with 50 percent fearing death from COVID-19 related-causes.
“As a union, we conducted a survey and noted that 85 percent of the respondents are quite anxious, ” said Gibore who also urged health care facilities to provide enough personnel to prevent burnout and providing a conducive environment.
Gibore was speaking during a press conference in Nairobi on Friday when he emphasized the need for streamlining of the COVID-19 referral system to restore confidence.
“Currently, we are talking about 6 health workers who have contracted the disease with three of them being clinical officers. We demand that the government enhances risk allowance to twenty thousand from three thousand that they are currently earning, give life insurance and special allowances to all health workers,” he said.
In their raft of recommendations to the government and health care facilities, the union wants the provision of adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), adequate training and recruitment of medical staff and provision of transport to healthcare workers during curfew hours .
On Friday, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe directed immediate testing of all medical personnel, and support staff as the government scales up measures to curtail the spread of the virus in the country.
Kagwe, who spoke during his daily news briefing, said all health workers including those in private hospitals and the rapid response teams in facilities holding quarantine persons will undergo the mandatory tests as part of elaborate measures to stop the spread of infections.
“With the increased capacity that we have, we have given priority to testing all our health workers and medical staff,” he said.