Tharaka-Nithi medics claim county not ready for coronavirus

Tuesday March 17 2020

Tharaka-Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki (right) during a tour of Chuka County Referral Hospital March 6, 2020. Health workers at the hospital started a go-slow on March 17, 2020 protesting what they term as the county government’s "unpreparedness" in handling the coronavirus. PHOTO |ALEX NJERU | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Health workers at the Chuka County Referral Hospital in Tharaka-Nithi have gone on a go-slow protesting what they term the county government’s "unpreparedness" in handling the Covid-19 outbreak.

Speaking to journalists on Tuesday, Kenya National Union of Nurses County Chapter Secretary-General Fabian Marigu said they had not been trained on how to handle Covid-19 patients and that they fear for their lives.

“Nothing has been done to ensure our safety as we handle patients and we are not ready to risk our lives while saving those of others,” said Mr Marigu.


He said isolation rooms at the referral hospital and those in Marimanti and Magutuni sub-county hospitals should have cubicles to make sure that patients do not mingle as tests are done on them.

Mr Marigu threatened to call a strike Wednesday if no safety measures are taken.


“From tomorrow (Wednesday), all nurses may be compelled to boycott duty for the safety of their health if the county government will not have taken the necessary measures,” he said.

At the county assembly, Chogoria MCA Margaret Gitari tabled a motion seeking to compel the executive to take drastic and urgent measures in battling a possible outbreak of the coronavirus.


The motion, which was supported by all the MCAs, demanded that the county government provides sanitisers, water for hand washing and other protective gear in all public facilities.

It compels the county government to treat those suspected of having Covid-19 free of charge in all public hospitals.

The MCAs accused the executive of laxity in making sure that residents are safe.

“I was at Chuka County Referral Hospital yesterday and I was surprised that life is going on as usual with visitors getting in and out without any sanitiser or other disinfectant to sterilise their hands,” said Ms Gitari.

A visit by the Nation at the hospital established that the health workers were only attending to emergency cases.

Efforts to get a comment from the county health officials proved futile with several calls to Health executive Gichuiyia Nthuraku going unanswered.