CS Kagwe's Midnight Texts Kept Us Awake - Mwangangi on Job Pressure

  • Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe (Left) and his Chief Administrative Secretary Mercy Mwangangi during a press briefing in March 2020.
    Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe (Left) and Chief Administrative Secretary Mercy Mwangangi during a press briefing in March 2020.
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  • Health Chief Administrative Secretary Dr Mercy Mwangangi has opened up on her working relationship with CS Mutahi Kagwe during a most difficult time occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic.

    The senior government official revealed in an interview that the job had lots of pressure stemming mainly from handling the Covid-19 pandemic.

    "We hardly slept during this past year. The minister, Mutahi Kagwe, often joked that he was able to send texts at 2 am, 3 am, 4 am, 5 am and to his surprise, most times, we would reply to him almost immediately," she disclosed.

    She added that during the period when dealing with a disease, which little was known about, demanded working long hours, adding that it took a toll on the officials.

    Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe addresses a press conference on Covid-19 in Nairobi in March 2020
    Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe addresses a press conference on Covid-19 in Nairobi in March 2020
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    "Were there effects of no sleep? Of course yes, there are times we really struggled because of the exhaustion.

    "You felt exhausted, but then the country was in a crisis, and we needed to brace ourselves and fight the pandemic," she said.

    The CAS added that the job pressure was high noting that there was a lot going on in the background, before the officials appeared on TV to give daily updates.

    She noted that they held extensive consultations to better understand how to handle the pandemic with various officials reaching out to their international connections to gather more information on how the other countries were doing it.

    "I came into the position fired up, ready to pour my energies into the Universal Healthcare programme and reproductive and maternal health services, but what ended up happening is that in the past one year it does feel like I’ve been going through a PhD in leadership, in crisis management and in multi-sectoral collaborations.

    "And this has taught me that there is never space when you’ve learnt enough," she stated.

    The Health Ministry is currently rolling out the Covid-19 vaccine to different parts of the country with priority given to health workers.

    "We will receive a  cumulative 24 million doses in the initial stage and another 11 million doses from other sources, to vaccinate 16 million people over a period of 18 months spread over three Government fiscal years and not calendar years," she noted.

    Health CAS Mercy Mwangangi during a press briefing outside Afya House, April 2020.
    Health CAS Mercy Mwangangi during a press briefing outside Afya House, April 2020.
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