Another healthcare crisis is looming in the country after it emerged that tuberculosis patients that have discontinued treatment in the wake of the ongoing doctors’ strike risk spreading the disease.
Medical practitioner Dr Christina Sadia, who works with the Kenya Women Medical Association warned the government needs to resolve the medics’ strike impasse in a bid to avert a breakout of the killer disease.
Sadia said TB patients that stopped medication would require enhanced drugs which would be costly for the state.
“If the strike continues, TB patients would be resistant to drugs and would need strong drugs which would be costly for the country,” she warned.
She spoke at a press conference organised by civil society in healthcare industry in Nairobi yesterday.
Tuberculosis has in recent years become a major problem because of emergence of drug resistant TB which does not respond to the usual antibiotic given for simple tuberculosis.
Irregular and incomplete treatment taken by the TB patient leads to Multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB).
According to doctors, this form of tuberculosis requires medicines, which are very expensive and still may not work and the duration of the treatment can be more than 2 years.
Therefore, Kenyan TB patients may developed its resistant version leading to massive deaths and infection given the disease is contagious.
This comes even as HIV patients in Kisumu are reportedly not receiving their antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) from drug stores.
Drug addicts have also been bee grossly affected on their path to recovery from addiction in Mombasa as they are unable to obtain methadone — a drug less addictive than morphine or heroin and is used as a substitute for these drugs in addiction treatment.
Patients have apparently been agonising over the situation as the government and doctors union maintain a hard-line position.
The civil society in the healthcare industry now wants the government and doctors to come up to a win-win solution to the crippling industrial action.
“Doctors have a legitimate demand…but both the employer and the medics to come to a compromise for the good of the country,” said Sadia.
She told doctors that their public goal should overshadow their personal goal.
She however, blamed the government for dishonesty in its talks with doctors, saying that the government has issued separate bargain from what has been agreed with medics.
Civil society groups have also called on the government to stop intimidating doctors to give room for fruitful talks.
They have welcomed the recently constituted mediation team led by Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) and the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR).