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Gaps remain in war on Covid pandemic

In Summary

• There seems to be a lot that is unknown and unheard going on within- our healthcare systems as we battle the spread of the virus.

• Identifying the real underlying challenges and addressing them head-on will save lives.

A nurse at the Kapsabet County Referral Hospital isolation ward for Covid-19 patients
HOSPITAL A nurse at the Kapsabet County Referral Hospital isolation ward for Covid-19 patients
Image: FILE

Is it fear of the known, negligence or are our healthcare systems being overwhelmed by Covid-19 infections?

In the recent past, we have read and seen traumatising and horrifying narrations from Covid-19 survivors on how frustrating it was for them to get admission and treatment in our hospitals. A fortnight ago, the country lost an iconic public figure, Charles Bukeko, popularly known as “Papa Shirandula” in an unclear circumstances. His family blamed The Karen Hospital for negligence, claims the hospital refuted.

There seems to be a lot that is unknown and unheard going on within- our healthcare systems as we battle the spread of the virus. Identifying the real underlying challenges and addressing them head-on will save lives. It is a fact that the disease is now at the community levels, with most patients being asymptomatic. We have also heard  of cases of patients dying from the virus without any pre- existing medical conditions. 

 

The role of health service providers is critical as they remain at the forefront in the war against the pandemic. They are highly prone and vulnerable to infections.

While initially the symptoms were coughing, fever and difficulty in breathing, it has now mutated and most patients are asymptomatic, posing a challenge in diagnosing it.

The few testing centres and laboratories seem to be overwhelmed as test results  are taking up to five days, which is a lapse, breeding ground space and a great danger to the health service providers who are taking care of the patients as well as the masses that opt for voluntary testing. 

NHIF has accepted to cover Covid-19 patients in public hospitals. This is timely and laudable. Most insurance companies are not offering Covid-19 cover, making it very difficult for patients to foot bills. This trickles down to healthcare service providers, as they are forced to minimise treatment procedures by limiting use of PPE and the needed time with patients for fear of overwhelming them with medical expenses and and getting infected.

The majority of the counties are yet too meet the basic infrastructural requirements in handling Covid-19 patients and emergencies. We are witnessing misplaced priorities from our governors, case for alarm as nurses threaten to down-tools this month.

Contact tracing is becoming a nightmare and is a key contributor to the increased number of cases.

Corporates and donors are doing a commendable job in helping the country address the challenge- what remains is effective use and accountability of the funds channeled towards Covid-19 emergency response.

 

It remains tricky and a tall order for the Ministry of Education as they focus on setting up modalities of reopening our learning institutions.

Let us cushion all the essential service providers horizontally, increase testing centres and equipment, enhance sensitisation on need for citizens to go for voluntary testing and adherence to the containment measures.

Founder/CEO- Integrated Development Network (K)