At least 257 healthcare workers in Kenya have tested positive for COVID-19 so far, according to the country’s Ministry of Health.
Kenyan Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Health Mutahi Kagwe confirmed the number in a statement sent to newsrooms in the country on Wednesday.
“It is important to note that among those already exposed to the virus are our healthcare workers, who continue to work under difficult conditions and circumstances, as they offer critical service to our people… Currently, 257 healthcare workers have fallen victim to this virus,” the statement read in part.
Kagwe added that the government remained committed to protecting all its frontline workers by providing them with the necessary equipment to protect themselves as they went about their duties.
“There can never be a higher level of individual sacrifice than this. As a nation, we are indebted to you,” the statement said.
To strengthen the nation’s response to the pandemic, Kagwe said that 252 healthcare workers of all cadres had been employed to boost human resource capacity.
Health Chief Administrative Secretary Rashid Aman, who previously acknowledged that it was inevitable that some health care workers would get infected, said that being infected with COVID-19 was not a death sentence and that one stood a good chance of recovering from it.
Aman, however, pointed out that health workers were not the only frontline workers who were likely to get infected by the virus by virtue of interacting with COVID-19 cases.
The International Council of Nurses (ICN) said that thousands of nurses have been infected with COVID-19 and hundreds have already died, but many governments were unable to say exactly how many as they are not collecting such data.
The ICN said this failure was putting more nurses and their patients in danger during the fight against COVID-19. Kenya currently has 8,528 confirmed COVID-19 cases after recording 278 new cases on Wednesday.
The East African nation has also recorded 169 deaths and 2,593 recoveries from the disease in total.