A Meru nurse who wore plastic waste bags as personal protective equipment (PPE) to handle a suspected Covid-19 patient now claims he did so to shield his medical gear from rain.
This comes after photos of the nurse were shared widely online with independent sources informing the Nation that the health worker improvised for lack of appropriate PPE.
According to Mr Sebastian Mwiti, a nurse at Miathene Sub-County Hospital, he covered himself with the plastic bags within the hospital since he did not have an umbrella.
“I was picked by an ambulance from home at around 8pm and when we reached the hospital, it was raining heavily. I dressed in the appropriate PPE but to prevent the PPE from getting wet, I covered myself with the plastic bags. I only used the plastic bags while escorting the patient from the isolation ward to the ambulance," Mr Mwiti recounted.
He said he was dressed in a blue gown, surgical mask, head cover and gloves before handling the suspected Covid-19 patient.
Mr Mwiti maintained that he had not improvised the plastic waste bags to serve the purpose of PPE.
“I do not know when the photos were taken. I was shown the photos by the medical officer on Thursday,” he said.
Mr Laban Chabari, the medical officer said on the fateful day, the patient was isolated after he recorded high temperatures at the hospital’s screening desk.
He said the patient was suspected to be infected with the coronavirus after being examined by a clinical officer, who was also provided with the appropriate PPE.
“When the nurse arrived, he was given the appropriate PPE before transferring the patient to Meru Level Five Hospital for Covid-19 treatment. Only my colleague can explain how we ended up with the allegation that we did not have PPE because that is far from the truth,” Dr Chabari said.
He said the hospital had received enough personal protective equipment in the last two weeks.
Meru Health Executive Misheck Mutuma who toured the hospital on Saturday said the war on Covid-19 is being politicised.
“The county government has [done everything] to [provide] resources to the level four hospital yet there are people who do not appreciate that.
"I have established that all the procedures for handling a Covid-19 patient were followed except for the plastic bag that was meant to prevent rain water,” Mr Mutuma said.
He said the nurse went out of his way to ensure the patient was transferred to Meru Level Five Hospital on time.
Mr Mutuma said the patient tested negative for Covid-19.
He said the county has distributed 1,500 PPE to all hospitals which are sufficient to serve health workers for two months.
Earlier, sources who sought anonymity based on sensitivity of the matter said the nurse resorted to using plastic bags since there were no proper PPE available at the hospital.
Health Chief Officer Kanana Kimonye on Thursday said she had seen the photos but could not could not verify whether the incident happened in Meru.