Shield health workers from Corona exposure
Monday, April 27th, 2020
The decision by the Kenya government to send some of our medics to Ebola-hit West Africa in 2015 was bold and wise.
Kenya sent about 155 volunteer medics to fight the infectious disease that led to the deaths of over 11,000 people.
Among the dead were medical workers. For instance, of the estimated 11,000 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, at least 600 were health-care providers.
This was occasioned by lack of protective gear for the workers who interacted with Ebola patients.
This is the void the brave Kenyan medics sought to fill, putting their skills and resolve to test.
Besides their experience in fighting dangerous disease, the medics’ West African trip provided handy lessons that can be applied in the fight against the coronavirus.
It is notable that some counties have enlisted the services to the 2015 volunteers.
One of the major lessons from the Ebola experience, they say, is protection of medics who need to be well-equipped and kept healthy for them to discharge their duties effectively.
The other is individual dedication and incentive of the front-line health warriors on whose shoulders falls the responsibility of defeating the disease.
That is why the constant cries by health workers in the trenches for lack of equipment for their work is disturbing.
They cannot be expected to be in the battlefront against Covid-19 when the risk of exposure hangs over their heads.
Doctors are also concerned about shortage of ventilators, machines that help patients breathe and are widely needed for those suffering from Covid-19.
The unions of doctors, clinicians and nurses have already warned that their members are highly exposed and called for support.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has already spelt out relief measures to cushion health workers. A kitty has been set up in response to the emergency.
County governments have also set aside funds for the pandemic. These should help boost the efforts of the health staff in the war.
The acts of solidarity with medics and other front-line professionals are highly welcome.
But their protection call must be addressed once and for all. As a country, we have sent our soldiers to the warfront, we must give them the armour they need for the job.