Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe has called on counties to ensure that expectant health workers are kept off the frontline in the handling of Covid-19 patients.
Kagwe, who addressed the nation on the status of Covid-19 in Kenya from the Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital yesterday, was responding to a request made by Kisii Senator Sam Ongeri that expectant health workers should not be exposed to high risks conditions.
“We would like to call on all our 47 counties to be well-prepared to handle Covid-19 cases since all counties are now exposed and we would like to discourage referrals since at some point we may be overwhelmed,” Kagwe said.
He announced that 727 more people had tested positive for the coronavirus, and this was now worrying.
Out of the new positive cases, 539 are male and 188 are females. Fourteen patients also died, raising the death toll to 413.
The CS's plea to protect expectant mothers came on the day that Marian Awuor Adumbo, a nurse who died of Covid-19 a few days after giving birth was laid to rest at Nyandonge village in Kasipul Constituency, Homa Bay County.
The nurse had battled the coronavirus at the Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital (KTRH) isolation treatment centre and had delivered while under treatment.
At her burial, family members claimed that there was a delay in transferring Awuor from Rachuonyo South sub-County hospital to Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital.
She was eulogised as a selfless worker who gave her all to care for Kenyans.
National Nurses Association of Kenya (NNAK) called on county governments to consider welfare of nurses as they battle the pandemic.
Alfred Obengo, the NNAK president blamed the hospital management for assigning Awuor on a risky assignment of handling the coronavirus patients despite her delicate state.
The unionists said Awuor ought to have been exempted from duty after she raised the complaint that she was unwell.
"An expectant woman should not be working in a hospital environment due to risks of contracting infections. This is in line with the World Health Organisation recommendations," Obengo said.
Meanwhile, CS Kagwe lauded efforts by Kisii County Hospital to ensure that Awuor received good medical care even though she lost her life leaving behind a newborn baby.
The CS also warned that those found culpable of misusing Covid-19 funds will be prosecuted.
Fred Matiang'i, Interior and National Coordination Cabinet Secretary, noted that the Kisii County government has achieved major milestones in the health sector courtesy of a cordial working relationship with the national government.
"There are counties where things are not moving. We have always had discussions at the national level on how to support counties to fight this pandemic and also improve services in the health sector during this challenging times globally,” Matiang'i said.
Kisii Governor James Ongwae said the government should also keep up the fight against other diseases with a broader approach in health sector being key.
Ongwae said 41 individuals have so far tested positive for Covid-19 in Kisii County and two people had lost their lives.
He said that frontline medics will receive their June salaries on Tuesday. Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya called on the Ministry of Health to ensure that money meant for combating the pandemic is used for the intended purpose. [Edwin Nyarangi, Eric Abuga and James Omoro]