Kenya runs out of ICU beds as corona ravages the country

by David Karani

Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists Union has warned that here are no intensive care unit (ICU) beds left in the country.

The union blamed the lack of critical hospital beds to the fact that the number of patients who need hospitalization and oxygen ventilator services have increased exponentially.

“The rising numbers of infections have not spared healthcare workers. 10 doctors are currently admitted, ” secretary general Chibanzi Mwachonda said on Tuesday.

Mwachonda said with the doctors being admitted, Kenya needs more health workers to fight the pandemic.

The union boss said the acute shortage of doctors is detrimental to the health sector and asked the Ministry of health and National Treasury to fast-track the contract renewal process of the 156 hired to work in isolation and treatment centers across the country.

“County governments should address grievances at the workplace to avoid industrial unrest and provision of PPEs.”

He urged all members of the public and the political leadership to adhere to Covid-19 protocols to save healthcare workers.

On vaccination, Mwachonda said health workers were afraid to take the vaccine due to lack of sensitisation.

He however said the union will embark on a nationwide campaign to increase vaccine uptake by engaging with its members.

“The ministry of health and county governments should scale up training and risk communication and education to tackle vaccine hesitancy through the healthcare workers representative bodies,” Mwachonda said.

The government received 1.02 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine on March 3 through Covax and an additional 100,000 doses from the Government of India.

By Monday, a mere 40,000 Kenyans had been reached with the first dose of the vaccine. The second dose is expected to be administered after eight weeks.

This comes even as the country recorded the highest positivity ever, at 22 per cent.

Health CS Mutahi Kagwe announced on Monday that, 1,130 people tested positive for the virus from a sample size of 5,119 tested in 24 hours. 

The cumulative caseload now stands at 122,040 from a total of 1,419, 984 tests conducted in the country to date.

The number of fatalities has also continued to rise with 12 more deaths reported in 24 hours, pushing the deaths in the country to 2,023. All the 12 are late death reports from facility record audits that occurred on diverse dates.

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