KENYA: Bishops Urge Government to address Health Care Workers’ Concerns amid surge in Covid-19 Cases

By Njoki Githinji

NAIROBI, NOVEMBER 20, 2020 (CISA)-The Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops(KCCB) has  called on government to provide the required facilitation to the health-care system to allow it to respond effectively to Covid-19, and called  for urgent dialogue with health-care workers’ unions to address their concerns amid a surge in Covid-19 cases.

“…we ask the Government leadership to move with haste to prioritize the available resources within Government and provide the required facilitation to the health-care system to allow it to respond to the burden of this disease. With a looming Doctors’ strike and disquiet among other cadres, we also ask for urgent but genuine dialogue with health-care workers’ Unions so that their concerns can be meaningfully listened to and addressed,” they said.

In a November 20 statement signed by Archbishop Philip Anyolo Chairman of KCCB, the prelates expressed concern over the loss of lives among health care workers pointing that they are have not been adequately facilitated to combat Covid -19 and have been left “exposed and vulnerable” to the virus.

“We are deeply concerned that we have recently lost many health care workers including Doctors, nurses and other cadres. These have been the force behind our many reported recoveries and have given Kenyans the much needed hope during this difficult period. We remain concerned that, despite budget availability and commitment by the Executive, resources have not been consistently provided to support the health care system to adequately respond to this pandemic, leaving health-care workers exposed and vulnerable,” they said.

Echoing President Uhuru Kenyatta’s call for vigilance and personal responsibility, the bishops noted with worry the recklessness among some leaders and citizens as far as complying with Covid-19 prevention guidelines is concerned.

“We have noted with great concern the recent surge in Covid-19 cases, positivity rates and mortality rates especially as reported during the month of November 2020. To this effect, the President has invited all of us to a state of personal responsibility in our operations and interactions. He has called each one of us to exercise individual responsibility to comply with the infection prevention guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health. Our great worry is the lack of compliance with these prevention guidelines by a section of the leadership of the Country and subsequently by many Kenyans,” they said.

“… undertaking the right measures as guided by the health authorities and adopting these with speed, the spread of this virus can still be contained and as such wish to emphasize on every individual’s responsibility to protect oneself, family and community from Covid-19,” the bishops added.

As at November 20, Covid-19 total cases stand at 74,145, recoveries at 50,658 and deaths at 1,330.