At least four doctors died of Covid-19 in 24 hours in Kenya, raisin concerns about the safety of frontlines workers in the country.

The country’s doctors’ union has already told the government that its members will go on strike in three weeks unless they receive more personal protective equipment (PPE). It is thought that 10 doctors died in the last week but the figures remain unclear.

“This is devastating news to the profession. KMPDU condoles with the families of our departed colleagues and may their souls rest in eternal peace,” Chibanzi Mwachonda, the head of Kenya’s main doctors and dentist’s union, told reporters on Saturday.

Mr Mwachonda also told doctors not to risk their lives while in the line of duty until the government guaranteed their safety.

The news of the deaths comes amid mounting fears that a second coronavirus wave is hitting East Africa’s most developed economy.
Mr Mwachonda also told doctors not to risk their lives while in the line of duty until the government guaranteed their safety.

“There aren’t that many doctors in Kenya. Losing eight in seven days to Covid-19 is a tremendous loss,” Nanjala Nyabola, one of Kenya’s best-known authors, said on Sunday.

According to data from the World Bank there are 0.157 doctors per 1,000 people in Kenya – compared to 2.812 in the UK and 4.249 in Germany.

The news of the deaths comes amid mounting fears that a second coronavirus wave is hitting East Africa’s most developed economy.

The Telegraph reported that, two weeks ago, Kenya broke its daily record of cases, recording almost 1,500 infections in one day. The country’s current death count stands at almost 1,300 deaths, and 70,500 confirmed cases.

While these figures are relatively low compared to the storm of cases seen in countries like the UK and France, Kenyan experts say these numbers only reflect a fraction of the real virus load.

One of the key problems in Kenya is the fact that coronavirus testing is overwhelmingly privatised and prohibitively expensive. This means that many poorer people, who might live on $5 a day, go untested when they develop symptoms.

Kenya’s government has been widely praised for its quick and decisive reaction to the pandemic. Like many African countries, the country was quick to shut down its borders and implement major public health measures to stop the spread of the virus.
Combined with the country’s predominantly young, fit and rural population, these measures helped to avert the crisis many Western experts predicted for African countries at the beginning of the pandemic.

Nine months on from the country’s first recorded case, fewer people wear masks and adhere to social distancing rules.
For months, political rallies and large gatherings were banned. But today the political rallies for the President, his deputy and the leader of the opposition are back in force.

Officials and doctors are urging people not to become complacent and to continue to follow public health measures.

In September, doctors and nurses in hospitals in three of Kenya’s regions told The Telegraph that they had to pay for their own PPE and hand washing gel.

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