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Patients stranded as medics avoid hospital over coronavirus

RIFT VALLEY
By Titus Too | March 19th 2020

Crisis: Some of the patients wait outside the hospital in Eldoret yesterday. Medics declined to attend to them over coronavirus fears. [Kevin Tunoi, Standard]

Several Kenyans seeking medical attention were yesterday stranded at Uasin Gishu County Hospital for hours after health workers declined to attend to them for fear of contracting coronavirus.

The medics lamented that they had run out of sanitisers and claimed public health facilities were generally unprepared to deal with the pandemic.

Those who spoke to the Standard said they are worried after the local administration failed to issue them with protective gear.

At around 11am, long queues of patients waiting to be attended to could be seen. Some consultations rooms were closed.

Ismael Aiyabei, the Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists’ Union (KMPPDU) North Rift secretary, said health workers lacked protective gear.

"We are very cautious because there is no way of knowing who is carrying the virus. Compared to their counterparts at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, health workers in other facilities feel exposed,” said Dr Aiyabei.

Some of the patients said they had spent hours in the queues and that there was no hope that they would be attended to. But Health executive Everlyne Rotich dismissed claims that there was a go-slow by health workers at the facility.

"We have been sensitising them on the disease and how to combat it. We give them regular updates. There is a lot of fear, but we urge the public not to panic," said Rotich.

Meanwhile, KMPPDU has suspended its planned strike over pay in Uasin Gishu, Nandi, Baringo and Elgeyo Marakwet counties for 21 days so its members can help in combating Covid-19. 

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