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Medics at Lamu's largest hospital down tools

Thursday July 16 2020
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Lamu King Fahad Hospital medical workers have accused the county administration of failing to ensure they are well protected against Covid-19. PHOTO | KALUME KAZUNGU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By KALUME KAZUNGU

Services at Lamu's largest hospital were paralysed on Thursday after health workers unexpectedly downed their tools over Covid-19 fears.

The medics, who had not issued notice of the strike, say that poor working conditions at the facility expose them to infection.

This comes after six health workers at the hospital tested positive for coronavirus in the last one week.

The six are currently isolated at their homes.

Those who have downed their tools include doctors, clinical officers, nurses, lab technicians and other support staff.

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A spot check by the Nation found that the health workers reported to the hospital in the morning but were seated under a tree in the compound.

Some of the workers who spoke to the Nation accused the County Government of failing to conduct immediate procedural contact tracing in order to ascertain who exactly came into contact with their sick colleagues.

"We're unhappy with the county administration. It's almost a week since our six colleagues were found to be positive. There's nothing we've been told on matters like contact tracing and possible quarantine for some of us who came into contact with our sick colleagues. We feel unsafe here," said a medic who requested to remain anonymous due to fear of reprisal.  

Another striking worker called on Governor Fahim Twaha's administration to engage them in dialogue, especially on issues to do with Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs).

"We're too exposed to the virus since we don't have enough PPEs at the moment. It's unfortunate that despite being on the frontline during this period of Covid-19, the county government has not been keen on protecting us against the disease." 

Efforts to reach Lamu County Health Executive Anne Gathoni for comment were unsuccessful by press time. 

On his part, Lamu County Commissioner Irungu Macharia, who chairs the County Covid-19 Taskforce, confirmed that six health workers at the hospital were indeed found to be positive.

He said they contracted the virus after attending to a 60-year-old woman who succumbed to the disease recently.

So far, the archipelago has confirmed 19 virus cases and one death.

"Contact tracing is a continuous exercise and it's going well in this area. I call on members of the public to adhere to all set guidelines to curb the spread of coronavirus," said Mr Macharia.

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