Kisii doctor in trouble for neglecting duty over Covid-19 masks

Monday March 30 2020

Governor James Ongwae (2nd left) inspecting the coronavirus isolation unit at the Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital. A doctor at the hospital now risks being dismissed for refusing to attend to patients, citing lack of coronavirus pandemic preparedness. PHOTO | RUTH MBULA | NATION MEDIA GROUP


A doctor at the Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital (KTRH) now risks being dismissed for refusing to attend to patients, citing lack of preparedness to handle the coronavirus pandemic.

KTRH – the largest public health facility in South Nyanza – intends to institute a disciplinary process that may lead to the doctor’s dismissal from service for gross misconduct.


In a letter seen by the Nation, the hospital’s Chief Executive Officer Enock Ondari said the action by the doctor amounted to professional negligence and insubordination, which is tantamount to gross misconduct.

“However, before this is done, you are hereby called upon to show cause why the intended action should not be taken.

“Your representations if any, should reach this office within a period of 72 hours from the date of this later, failure to which the contemplated action will be taken without further reference to you,” the letter further read.

The doctor reportedly refused to see patients who sought treatment at the hospital despite being asked to attend to them by the head of clinical services and the CEO.


“You cited lack of N95 masks despite being given the normal surgical masks, water and soap,” read the letter by Dr Ondari.

An N95 respirator is a more tight-fitting face mask.

In addition to splashes, sprays, and large droplets, this respirator can also filter out very small particles including viruses and bacteria.

Surgical masks on the other hand are disposable and loose-fitting face masks that cover the nose, mouth, and chin. They are typically used to protect the wearer from sprays, splashes, and large particle droplets.


There has been concerns that doctors in the country have not been prepared well to handle the coronavirus. Elsewhere in the world, hundreds of healthcare workers have succumbed to the virus.

The Kisii hospital has put in measures to handle coronavirus patients.


And although there has not been any confirmed case at the hospital, samples of four suspected cases were last week sent to the National Influenza Centre and the results were negative.

A handwashing unit and a screening centre have been put strategically at the hospital.

An emergency and response committee co-chaired by Kisii Governor James Ongwae and the County Commissioner Stephen Kihara has been put in place.

An isolation centre has also been prepared at KTRH.

So far, Kenya has reported coronavirus cases. One person has died from the virus while another one has recovered.