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A Lab technician at one of the hospitals in Nairobi. Kenya had recorded four deaths and 122 positive cases of coronavirus by April 3, 2020.

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Lab Officers’ Union Says 7,000 Workers on Standby to Facilitate Testing of COVID-19

NAIROBI, Kenya April 3 – Kenya National Union of Medical Laboratory Officers has assured that its members are ready to help in the early diagnosis of COVID-19 at a time the government is keen on ensuring as many tests as possible are carried out.

The union said that there are almost 7,000 officers on standby to work in the early laboratory diagnosis and prevention of coronavirus that had killed 3 people and infected 110 others in the country by April 2, 2020.

“By February 2020, Kenya Medical Laboratory Technicians and Technologists Board (KMLTTB) registered 15,000 officers, among them 4,000 are in the public sector, this translates to over 7,000 on standby ready to help the government in this exercise,” said Enock Wanyonyi, the union’s Secretary-General.

A Lab technician at work at a hospital in Kenya.

Out of the 15,000 registered laboratory officers, only 4,000 are in the public sector, he told a news conference.

Globally, the virus has already infected a million people and killed more than 50,000, a worrying that has led many nations to declare lockdowns.

Kenya is already implementing a dusk-to-dawn curfew, with the government now warning of tougher measures ahead after numbers of positive cases surged to 110 on Thursday. Three people, including Kilifi Deputy Governor Gideon Saburi have recovered.

The union now wants the Government to decentralize the testing of the virus across the country and ensure that all Level 4 hospitals are equipped to perform the test.

In their recommendation, the union wants each county to hire at least 100 medical laboratory officers in order to intensify random testing of Kenyans.

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Lab technicians are overwhelmed after the government embarked on mass testing of COVID-19.

“We urge our members to take precautions during this time because their safety is paramount even as the government protects them. Personal protection is a must for you to save others,” Wanyonyi said, two weeks after nurses at the Mbagathi Hospital protested that they lacked sufficient protective gear, with latest reports indicating that a clinical officer in Nairobi has contracted the virus in the line of duty.

In Italy, more than 4000 health workers have died after contracting the virus while handling patients.

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