Clinical interns threaten to go on strike over lack of PPEs

Clinical interns in Kisii County have threatened to go on strike following the failure by the County Government to provide them with Personal Protective Equipment (PPES) and non-payment of risk allowances like in other medical cadres.

Speaking in Kisii town, the interns castigated health authorities for allegedly failing to avail sanitizers and masks leaving them exposed to the global pandemic.

Leading a cross-section of the 55 diploma and bachelors degree level clinical interns, John Okoth claimed they only received one mask in a week saying it was insufficient since it was only enough for one patient.

Okoth argued that some patients visiting Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital which has the major isolation and treatment facility for COVID-19 in the county could be positive yet they attend to them without proper protection.

He noted that several medics were already infected with the disease around the country, adding that interns deserved better treatment including risk allowance like other medics since they were also frontline workers in the fight.

Okoth said the team was sometimes put on night shift against their contract agreement which states their work starts at 8 am and ends at 5pm.

The interns are part of the 2,500 persons deployed to various counties around June for the 2020/2021 financial years.

They also appealed to the National Government to release their pay for the months worked saying it will help them buy personal protective gadgets if the county government delayed in providing them.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, an officer at the Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital where the majority of the interns are based said the person mandated to distribute the protective gadgets was not efficient, thus risking lives of the medics.

This comes even as the top Ministry officials led by Health CS Mutahi Kagwe visited the county two weeks ago to assess its preparedness, and distributed a big number of PPEs including masks and sanitisers besides giving national updates on the disease.

The County has so far reported 85 positive cases and 7 deaths.

Efforts to get a comment from the department of health was futile as the Public Health County Director Dr Richard Onkware referred the press to Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital CEO Dr Enock Ondari who said he was not allowed to speak on matters of health.

The county executive for health Sarah Omache was also said to be out on official matters.


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