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NMS hires 225 medics in heightened war on Covid-19

The doctors, nurses and clinical officers are on three-year contracts.

In Summary

• City Hall had on paper 3,300 health workers inclusive of cleaners and drivers at the time health services were handed over to NMS, but the actual number was 2,750.

• At 745 Covid-19 positive cases as of Thursday, Nairobi leads other counties in the number of those with the disease.

Nairobi Metropolitan Service Director General Mohammed Badi on May 21,2020
Nairobi Metropolitan Service Director General Mohammed Badi on May 21,2020
Image: COURTESY

The Nairobi Metropolitan Services has, through the Public Service Commission, recruited 225 health workers.

This follows President Uhuru Kenyatta's May 21 announcement that the national government will hire an additional 5,000 health workers in the intensified war on Covid-19.

NMS Health Services director Josephine Kibaru Mbae told the Star on Thursday that the recruitment will go a long way in addressing the shortage of health workers in Nairobi.

 
 

The new workers comprise doctors, nurses and clinical officers. They will serve on three-year contracts.

“When we took over from City Hall we noted that indeed there is a shortage of health workers and many hospitals relied on locum. We had to recruit more. NMS has embarked on their distribution so that once they get the letters, they know where they will be reporting to,” Mbae explained.

City Hall had on paper 3,300 health workers inclusive of cleaners and drivers at the time health services were handed over to NMS. But the actual number was 2,750.

Health workers had threatened to go on strike citing unaddressed issues of promotion and redesignation by the County Public Service Board.

Mbae said NMS's human resource department is looking into the issues for implementation in the financial year 2020-21.

She said the NMS has distributed personal protective equipment (PPE) worth Sh120 million to health workers.

At 745 Covid-19 positive cases as of Thursday, Nairobi leads other counties in the number of those with the disease.

“The distribution (of PPEs) was done based on the needs of the health workers presented and where they are stationed. All workers can access at least two three-ply masks every day, depending on where they are stationed,” Mbae explained.

Away from the pandemic, NMS has also managed to keep health facilities open to city residents.

The health facilities are up and running and have drugs worth Sh173.48 million as of March.

“The facilities have adequate drugs and we are in the process of doing another distribution between now and June 30th to ensure that before the closure of the financial year our health facilities have adequate drugs,” Mbae said.

When NMS took over the health function from City Hall, Director-General Mohammed Badi was handed over documents pertaining the projects' status.

However, under health, the only completed projected was the new 66-bed maternity wing at Mama Lucy Hospital.

Mbae said more than Sh145 million will be needed to fully equip the new wing before it is opened.

“The new wing at Mama Lucy is ready for equipping and we have discussed with the Ministry of Health equipping it before the end of June.” 

The construction of the H-shaped wing started in 2013 but stalled in 2016 due to under-funding.

However, Governor Mike Sonko’s administration last year released Sh69 million for its completion.

The six-floor wing also has an ICU, a High Dependency Unit and general wards.

The incomplete projects under the health sector have been rolled over to the next financial year.

“NMS has held meetings with staff in the county health facilities and it has been agreed that the projects be carried over to the next financial year starting July. We have budgeted for most of the projects,” Mbae said.

While the focus is now on the Covid-19 pandemic, the NMS has assured the public that all health facilities are open for all services.

Mbae stated that outpatient services like immunisation, pre- and post-natal care and comprehensive healthcare services are functioning.

“The facilities are operational. The number of patients may have reduced (due to curfew and stay home restrictions) but no one is being sent away,” she emphasised. 

The NMS has urged the public to show up in large numbers for free Covid-19 mass testing.

The exercise, which commenced last week on Thursday, is a collaboration of the NMS and the Ministry of Health.

 

- mwaniki fm