Health services were paralysed at the Samburu County Hospital after medics downed their tools over what they said was Covid-19 cross-contamination in the facility.
The health workers claimed that patients suspected to be infected with the coronavirus disease were being placed in the same wards with other patients thus putting them at risk of contracting and spreading the virus.
Led by Hospital in-Charge Ezra Lekenit, they held a peaceful demonstration in Maralal town yesterday. They marched to the county offices where they demanded that the county assembly takes action in the next two weeks or face total grounding of operations.
"It is worrying that we are managing people who are suspected to have been infected in the same wards with other patients. This is risking the lives of the general public and healthcare providers,” said Dr Lekenit.
The hospital has a total of 400 healthcare providers, including doctors, clinical officers, nurses and other staff. Hospital records show that 20 health workers have contracted the virus, with several placed under quarantine.
Covid 19 Time Series
Lekenit said that in an ideal situation, the county should set aside a room where patients suspected of having Covid-19 could be placed for observation. "The Covid-19 isolation centre should be improved and have better ventilation. It should have medical oxygen for patients with breathing difficulties."
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The workers accused the county of failing to pay them risk allowance. It also emerged that there is a pending bill for contractors who supply food to the hospital.
"There are no clear reasons why the hospital is accumulating a lot of debt when it has money. Hospital suppliers must therefore be paid to ensure the continued supply of cleaning materials and foodstuffs for the patients,” said Lekenit.
Health Executive Stephen Lekupe said the county government was already addressing the complaints.
"The grievances brought before us are straightforward. They will not even go beyond our first meeting. Our suppliers are okay. They have been receiving payments when we get money. Even if we have a few pending bills, they are awaiting clearance once we get money. That has not stopped us from accessing any supplies,” Mr Lekupe said.