KNH Blunder May Have Exposed Hundreds to Covid-19

  • Stock image of the Kenyatta National Hospital.
    Stock image of the Kenyatta National Hospital.
    The Standard
  • Even as Kenyans come into terms with the death of a six-year-old patient at the Kenyatta National Hospital over Covid-19-related complications, it is emerging that several other Kenyans may have been exposed to the virus through the child.  

    The revelations as published in a report by the Daily Nation on Sunday, April 5, indicate that the handling of the patient, who was apparently at first was not suspected to have contracted the virus, were not according to Covid-19 guidelines.

    The child was first taken to the paediatric emergency unit considered a low-risk area, and as such, medics attending to children were not given protective gear.

    Health CS Mutahi Kagwe launches the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) Diagnostic and Reporting Centre, Nairobi in February 2020 as Health CAS Dr Mercy Mwangangi (behind) watches
    Health CS Mutahi Kagwe launches the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) Diagnostic and Reporting Centre, Nairobi in February 2020 as Health CAS Dr Mercy Mwangangi (behind) watches
    File

    More than 50 health care providers, including registrars with little Covid-19 training, are said to have come into contact with the victim thus putting their families and hundreds of Kenyans at risk of infection.

    According to a neonatal unit doctor at the facility who spoke to Kenyans.co.ke on condition of anonymity, there was an ongoing shortage of protective gear even as medics called for urgent intervention.

    ''Since the first infection in the country, we put our case forward to the ministry in charge to provide us with gear in readiness for a situation like this. But since then, all we have heard is only promises.''

    In the two days the patient spent at the neonatal unit, the publication reports that medics who handled did not have protective equipment, and an intubation procedure was performed on him - a procedure said to emit the virus into the surrounding air.

    It is reported that, already, on doctor who handled the patient has been placed under forced quarantine after travelling to his village in Bomet County.

    Dr Alfred Odhiambo Otieno, a doctor at KNH told the Daily Nation his colleagues have formed a group to raise funds to enable them to purchase personal protective gear and have so far raised Ksh1.3 million.

    Health Director-General Patrick Amoth told journalists on Saturday, April 4, that the ward where the boy was treated would be disinfected and the more than 20 of the registrars who came into contact with the boy had been told to self-quarantine.

    The risk of transmission to the population beyond KNH is occasioned by the fact that many of the junior health workers were using public transport, with the government reportedly considering offering the transport to reduce the possibility of passing on the virus in the event they got infected. 

    An image of Acting Ministry of Health Director-General Patrick Amoth taking notes at a past meeting.
    Acting Ministry of Health Director-General Patrick Amoth taking notes at a past meeting.
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