Seme MP Dr. James Nyikal on Wednesday, November 18 cried bitterly in Parliament as he was hearing the plight of healthcare workers in Kenya.
Dr. Nyikal could not help but break down and cry while he was narrating the sad tale of how the government has neglected frontline health care workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Nyikal was reacting after hearing the submissions of KMPDU officials led by Secretary General Chibanzi Mwachonda to the National Assembly Health Committee.
“I wish we were having this meeting at State House with President chairing. Then all those who he listens to because the Government is made up of the President and the people he listens to, can make their contributions,” said an emotional Nyikal, who is a doctor by profession.
Nyikal then burst into tears as he said: “I don’t like these. You can’t do that to your doctors and health workers. It is not fair. Everybody is saying that you have to be patriotic, you must be human. Who said patriotism is suicide.”
Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU) officials said that they have done all their best as frontline workers in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, but the government has let them down.
KMPDU Secretary General Chibanzi Mwachonda lamented the fact that government has failed to honour on their promise of providing health care workers with a comprehensive medical cover, payment of their allowances and the reinstatement of doctors who had been sacked in Kirinyaga and Laikipia Counties.
KMPDU laid bare the sorry state under which healthcare workers are passing through in their duties, insisting that they should be taken care of because they are literally the soldiers the country relies on in fighting the deadly virus.
“Doctors on home-based care are even forced to purchase their own medication, there has to be a mechanism to facilitate medication.
Ambulances ought to be on standby so that if a doctor needs emergency care it’s possible for him or her to access the service,” said Chibanzi, who insisted that, “we need an enhanced risk allowance, this will motivate the soldiers at war- healthcare workers.”
Chibanzi also highlighted a scenario where a doctor under Nairobi Metropolitan Services was forced to pay hospital bills amounting to Sh1.5 million out of his pocket, after contracting COVID-19 in the line of duty.
“It is heartbreaking what these doctors have gone through. The doctor who died of COVID-19 from Eldoret fell sick, there was no ICU space at MTRH. They sought air evacuation but they couldn’t afford, he was later taken to Nakuru where he died,” added Chibanzi.
KMPDU’s red alert
KMPDU called for a Special National Advisory Council meeting on Sunday, November 15 following the death of four doctors between Friday and Saturday alone.
In the special meeting, they deliberated on the way forward on matters welfare and occupational safety and health of all frontline health care workers.
At least 2,200 healthcare workers in Kenya have been infected with COVID-19, while at least 25 have paid the ultimate price since the advent of the disease in the country back in mid-March.