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Covid-19: Pumwani Hospital staff on go-slow after 41 test positive

Tuesday July 14 2020
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The main entrance to Pumwani Maternity Hospital. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By Aggrey Omboki

Health workers at Pumwani Maternity Hospital in Nairobi are on a go-slow after 41 staff at the facility tested positive for Covid-19.

Acting Health Director General Patrick Amoth revealed the tally of cases at the hospital, adding that the remaining workers will also be tested.

He said the 41 are from a batch of 290 samples that were screened, while 100 more are yet to be tested.

A number of the remaining staff working at the hospital have now expressed concern over the discovery of coronavirus cases, with some lamenting that they have been forced to remain on duty despite this.

“We have a major problem here at Pumwani Hospital where I work. The government started testing staff for Covid-19 and the number of positive cases is rising,” said a staff member who did not wish to be named for fear of reprisal.

Workers are now living in fear as they do not know the extent of infections at the hospital, putting pregnant mothers admitted in the wards at risk.

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“Tension is high at the facility because management has stopped releasing any more results. This has left us in a dilemma as we do not know who among us could be infected.” 

National Nursing Association of Kenya (NNAK) secretary general Alred Obengo hit out at the facility’s management for what he termed “a careless and dangerously casual attitude” towards the staff’s safety.

“We cannot blame the government and the CS for sending the workers into an unsafe environment. The blame for this particular criss squarely lies with the unit managers in the affected areas,” said Mr Obengo.

The Association is now asking the nurses to stay away from the hospital until proper measures including provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) and fumigation are put in place.

“Because some people want to pursue their business interest at the expense of everything else, they have opted to supply the workers substandard PPEs, which increase their risk of getting Covid-19. This is an unacceptable state of affairs,” fumed Mr Obengo.

"If we do not take proper care of the health workers, they will become major channels of spreading the virus in the communities where they live. And they will not just infect their families and neighbours, but also the unit managers that are neglecting their duty of ensuing they are protected from infection," he added.

According to Dr Josephine Mbae, who is the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) Health director, the virus cases were discovered after a mass testing exercise.

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