Kenya: Ministry of Health Warns Over Rising Covid-19 Cases, Stretched Facilities

23 October 2020

As the number of Covid-19 patients admitted to hospital rises, the Ministry of Health has raised concerns over possible stretched facilities and an overwhelmed workforce.

While giving the National Emergency Response Committee updates yesterday, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said stretched facilities would badly affect the war on the deadly virus.

"We are witnessing high ICU cases Isiolo and other counties. The key to success is ensuring that hospitals are not overwhelmed," he said.

Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral and Research Hospital says 15 of its 24 ICU beds are occupied by Covid-19 patients.

Nairobi Hospital will set aside four of its wards for coronavirus cases.

"This is to inform you that the hospital has been experiencing a surge in the number of Covid-19 cases requiring admission," Nairobi Hospital Acting CEO Margaret Sirima said in a communication to workers.

Kenya Medical Association President Andrew Were said hospitals are witnessing an increased number of ICU cases.

"An ICU bed requires staff. Some counties do not have the capacity to hire the required employees, let alone getting the beds. Many health workers are now at risk of contracting the virus," he said.

Health Acting Director-General Patrick Amoth said county governments that do not have the correct infrastructure "should up the game".

Poor state of hospitals

The question of whether counties are prepared to handle the virus, especially when it comes to critically ill patients, has been a cause for concern.

A report tabled in Parliament by the ministry paints a grim picture. According to the report presented to the Senate Ad-hoc Committee on Covid-19, there are only 7,411 isolation beds and 312 ICU beds in the country.

The report added that the bed capacity in 11 hotspot counties would be stretched if 10 to15 per cent of the Covid-19 cases would need admission.

Nairobi heavily relies on government and private institutions to handle coronavirus due to the poor state of public hospitals.

The country on Sunday recorded 28 Covid-19 patients in critical care but the figure shot to 78, with 39 being taken to the ICU on Monday.

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