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Health officials geared up with protective suits during a COVID-19 screening exercise/FILE/MOH

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COVID-19: Medics urge govt to fast-track comprehensive insurance given high occupational risks

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 12 –The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPPDU) has challenged the government to ensure that healthcare workers and those who are on the front line of giving care to Kenyans afflicted with COVID-19 are protected against contracting the virus.

Speaking during a news conference on Saturday, KMPPDU Secretary-General Chibanzi Mwachonda said that the government should adopt a comprehensive insurance and compensation package for doctors and other health care workers who have contracted the fast spreading disease while on duty.

“We raised the issue amongst health care workers and unfortunately we were dismissed as fantasiers, but we say, we are doctors because we understand disease, we understand the risk, we understand the prognosis. And I even said there is no amount of money that will compensate a family for the loss of their loved one,” Mwachonda said.

He was speaking after the country lost its first medical doctor to coronavirus where he said their cry to make sure medical doctors are given special protective equipment against the virus has not bore fruits.

“I have heard so many calls, from my colleagues some of who are my personal friends, who have called and told me, i’d just like to tell you, in confidence that I have turned positive, or I have just handled a patient who has turned positive and I have to go into quarantine and isolation. This has had an effect on these health workers, it is trauma that needs utmost support,” the KMPPDU Secretary-General outlined in a joint statement with the Kenya Medical Association, Kenya Medical Womens Association and Kenya Obstetrical Gynaecological Society.

Speaking in Kwale County during the government’s daily briefing, Acting Director-General of Health Patrick Amoth confirmed that another healthcare worker ‘is now critically ill’ and sought to calm rising concerns on the safety of healthcare workers in the country.

“As a government we stand very firmly with healthcare workers and that is why we have gone ahead to ensure we have done capacity building, provided PPEs and continuously give them moral and psychological support as they fight this pandemic,” he said.

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