'Kenyan Pandemic Health Workers Lack Protection'

The government has failed to fulfill its pledge to support health workers fighting Covid-19, exposing them to avoidable risks of trauma, infection, and even death, Human Rights Watch has said.

The government's haphazard, uncoordinated response has affected the welfare of thousands of health workers, and hindered Kenya's ability to provide timely and quality health care during the pandemic.

Despite significant resources being dedicated to the Covid-19 response in Kenya, the government failed to provide health workers with adequate protective equipment, testing, or other safety measures to ensure that they could safely and effectively respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered an investigation in August 2020 into the misuse of funds meant for the Covid-19 response, reports Human Rights Watch.

Kenya has 58,000 registered nurses, 12,000 registered doctors, and 14,000 clinical officers. Around 18,000 nurses are under government employment and thus went on strike during the Covid-19 crisis period, while 7,200 doctors are working in government facilities nationwide.

Human Rights Watch research indicates that authorities did not deliver on its promise to provide risk allowances, ensure that health workers hospitalized with Covid-19 had access to quality and affordable care and that funeral expenses for the health workers who die from the disease would be covered.

InFocus

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