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Covid-19: Lamu medics strike after six test positive

Without notice, they assembled under a tree in hospital compound leaving patients

In Summary

• Say county has refused to engage them on how best to handle the situation.

• The six are said to have attended to a 60-year-old patient who died of Covid-19 at the facility.

Medics at the King Fahad Level 4 General Hospital in Lamu island have gone on strike to protest poor working conditions and lack of appropriate gear predisposing them to Covid-19. 

At least six nurses and doctors at the hospital have tested positive for the coronavirus since last week and have since been isolated in their own homes in Lamu town and the hospital quarters. 

The six are said to have attended to a 60-year-old patient who died of Covid-19 at the facility.

 

Services at the hospital were on Thursday disrupted and patients left on their own while the medics assembled under a tree at the hospital grounds.

No notice had been issued prior to the strike but the medics had numerously raised concern over the county's lack of preparedness to effectively handle the pandemic.

The medics said apart from failing to give them PPEs to ensure their safety even as they handle Covid-19 patients, the county government had also failed to conduct contact tracing of all person who might have come into contact with the six medics including fellow healthcare workers.

“We are handling patients with coronavirus yet we don’t have the necessary protective clothing. We have tried raising the issue with the concerned office unsuccessfully. Six of our colleagues have since been infected and we suspect there could more since contact tracing hasn’t been done,” one said anonymously.

The medics said unlike what is happening in other counties, the county has refused to engage them on how best to handle the situation and more so on the issue of PPEs, leaving them vulnerable and exposed to the virus.

“We are working on the frontline trying to save lives but no one is helping us stay alive either. We need to see some seriousness,” another one said.

Efforts to reach Health executive Anne Gathoni were unsuccessful as she neither answered calls nor replied text messages. 

 

However, county commissioner Irungu Macharia who also chairs the county Covid-17 task force confirmed that six medics at the hospital tested positive for the virus last week and immediately put under isolation.

Lamu has since confirmed 19 cases of Covid-19 and one death.

“Contact tracing is ongoing but in the meantime, let everyone adhere to the precautions so as to stay safe,” Macharia said.

Edited by R.Wamochie