The public health crisis in Kenya is expected to worsen from today when doctors join nurses and clinical officers in a nationwide strike.
The health workers are demanding better working conditions, medical and insurance cover, the hiring of more healthcare workers, and the provision of quality and adequate personal protective equipment in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
The strike by nurses and clinical officers enters its third week today.
Doctors through their union said several meetings over the last eight months have failed to bear any fruit.
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe on Friday ordered striking healthcare workers to resume duty, failure to which they would be fired but they have remained adamant accusing the government of negligence.
Statistics from the Kenyan health ministry indicates that at least 2 700 healthcare workers in the country have contracted COVID-19 while in the line of duty, with 13 doctors, nine clinical officers, and 29 nurses succumbing to the disease.
Among those who died is a 28-year-old intern doctor, who had worked five months without pay. Dr Stephen Mogusu will be buried today.
Doctors hold vigil for a colleague
Earlier in December, Doctors in Kenya held a candlelight vigil in honour of their fallen colleague who succumbed to COVID-19. At the time of his death, the 28-year-old Dr Stephen Mogusu, an intern doctor, had not received his salary for five months and he did not have medical cover.
He became the 13th doctor to die in the line of duty in what his colleagues say is due to failure by the government to provide them with tools necessary to protect them.