HAVE NO PPE

Kwale volunteer health workers fear contracting virus

Say they have to endure insults and risk being assaulted by hostile villagers.

In Summary

• The CHVs said they were taken through sufficient training but to date, no working tool has been handed over limiting their efficiency.

• Some volunteers told the Star they have been assigned to monitor Covid-19 patients at grassroots level but feel exposed without the PPE

Community health volunteers offering home-based Covid-19 care in Kwale have said lack of protective equipment is putting their lives at risk.

The county trained over 1,000 public health workers including the CHVs to create awareness and educate locals about home treatment for asymptomatic coronavirus patients.

The CHVs said they were taken through sufficient training but to date, no working tool has been handed over limiting their efficiency.

 

Some volunteers told the Star they have been assigned to monitor Covid-19 patients at grassroots level but feel exposed without the PPE.

"We do follow up for persons who test positive, make sure they are fed as per the prescribed diet and inform physicians if their health deteriorates. But our lives are at stake because we are less protected," said a CHV who did not wish to be named.

Kwale Governor  Salim Mvurya has said the county has nine people on home-based treatment.

CHVs also said they have to endure insults and risk being assaulted by hostile villagers.

The health assistants said some people deny that Covid-19 is real while others are in conflict with the county government.

Another CHV said they are often treated like the ward representatives by illiterate villagers blaming them for the confusion.

"I was assigned work and the community almost attacked me, but I convinced the people my role is helping them on behalf of the health department," said the CHVs.

They also complained that they have to walk a long distance to deliver health services.

They alleged that to date the county has not given them a single penny to facilitate their work.

The county assembly had passed a bill allowing CHVs to be paid Sh3,000 every month in the financial year 2019-2020.

Speaker Sammy Ruwa said the funds will facilitate the CHVs to offer services.

Governor Mvurya said they have not received any official complaint from the CHVs.

He said the county will investigate and address the problems if reported.

Health CEC Francis Gwama said the county is well prepared and PPE is available.

He said the CHVs are supervised by public health officers and only involved in contact tracing and giving out crucial information.

"We brought CHVs onboard to assist in educating the villagers about home-based treatment and how to handle Covid-19 patients," Gwama said.