Statement in Support of Concerns Raised by Healthcare Workers

Statement in Support of Concerns Raised by Healthcare Workers

Kongamano La Mageuzi (KLM) is deeply concerned at the deteriorating situation for our healthcare care workers, who are putting their lives at risk to take care of COVID-19 patients. We stand in solidarity with the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentist’s Union (KMPDU) and the Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) in their call for a national strike until all their grievances are addressed. We also acknowledge the statement by the Kenya Medical Association (KMA) and the recommendations there-in. We cannot stand and watch as our medical professionals lose their lives due to the ineptitude of the Jubilee administration.

Our medical professionals have been fighting selflessly for the past nine months, even without a clear government COVID-19 response plan. Their reward has been a blatant and almost intentional failure by the national government to accord our brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, sons and daughters in the medical profession, the due support that they require and deserve. Misuse of COVID-19 funds, inadequate personal protective equipment and little to no training on case management, lack of testing and tracing procedures, are just a few of the failures we have witnessed in the past 9 months. In just one week, we have lost 8 doctors and many other healthcare workers. In a country with one doctor to 6000 patients ratio , we should be taking this matter more seriously. An estimated 800 doctors, 600 nurses and 320 clinical officers have contracted the coronavirus, and thirty-one healthcare workers have died since March. We must address this national emergency. 

Sadly, even with a record high of fatalities of almost 100 deaths in a week, we have observed a waning of adherence to Public Health Guidelines, led by those in positions of leadership. Political COVID-19 super-spreader events continue unabated increasing the spread of the disease in many counties in Nyanza and Western Kenya, which had witnessed fairly small numbers in the past. Our schools have now become the epicentre of COVID-19 infections and yet the Jubilee administration continues to burry its head in the sand. 

KLM condemns the half-measured responses by the Jubilee administration to the gravest pandemic of our generation. We call for the immediate implementation of the following measures:

  1. Hire more health workers to ensure every Kenyan has access to the highest attainable standard of healthcare, as envisioned in the constitution;
  2. Provide adequate and quality personal protective equipment to all health workers;
  3. Implement the compensation plan for health workers and pay salaries on time, just as we pay Governors, Members of Parliament and other leaders;
  4. Equip COVID-19 isolation facilities to respond to the surge in infections;
  5. Coordinate testing contact tracing and surveillance of COVID-19 infections;
  6. Fast track the formation of a constitutional Health service Commission to sort the perennial health workers issues and ensure quality health services;
  7. Arrest and prosecute all COVID-19 billionaires and redirect the stolen funds to support the medical professionals;
  8. Immediately cease all political rallies and activities known to spread COVID-19, including the BBI project;

Finally, Wakenya, we have a responsibility to alleviate the suffering of the healthcare workers.  We must adhere to preventive measures such as the use of face masks, washing hands and social-distancing. The Jubilee administration has told and shown us that we are on our own. Let us believe them and take care of ourselves and others. 

Let us honor the memory of  Dr Emarah Ashraf, Dr. Hudson Inyangala, Dr. Jackline Njoroge, Dr Faith Kanjiru Mbuba, Dr Hudson Alumera,  Dr. Vladimir Schuckin, Dr. Robert Ayisi , Dr Daniel Alushula, Dr. Adisa Lugaliki, Dr. Ndambuki Mboloi and the twenty-one other healthcare workers who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Let us take basic precautions. Let us keep away from the COVID-19 super-spreader political rallies organized by politicians, who have access to the best medical facilities. 

We are on our own. Let’s take care of ourselves and of each other. 

16 November 2020