Joy as virus-hit nurse on oxygen support delivers

July 24 will forever remain etched in the mind of a nurse at a Rachuonyo sub-county hospital in Homa Bay County, after she gave birth to a healthy baby boy while on oxygen support at the Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital.

Hers was no ordinary pregnancy, given that she contracted the coronavirus when she was 33 weeks pregnant.

The medic who has been put under oxygen support for the last one week had a normal delivery a day after she had signed consent to undergo a cesarean section.

As she remains in the ward, her baby in a nursery, her husband of one year, who was a primary contact is under self-quarantine at their Oyugis home.

He is allowed to visit his wife at the isolation centre though on strict adherence to Covid-19 guidelines.

“I went in with the doctors dressed in the personal protective equipment. I saw my baby in the incubator,” he said.

Doctors at the Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital (KTRH) led by the facility’s CEO Dr Enock Ondari and Head of Clinical Services Dr Bina Ongaki had spent the better part of Friday pondering on the next move to save mother and baby.

24-hour monitoring

Ondari said they had to consider several options for safe delivery.

“Covid-19 is new to all of us and we cannot predict the end result of such a case,” he said and added: “Baby and mother are doing well, stable. We are constantly monitoring them.”

Bina said the fact that they were dealing with one of their own means Kenyans ought to strictly adhere to guidelines and protocols issued by the government and World Health Organisation.

“There is no shortcut, we are all prone to this global pandemic. It is not easy to undergo labour pains under such conditions,” she said.

The hospital’s management had to temporarily close down the facility’s ICU to allow for fumigation.

“Much can be talked about the case but this is an assurance that our frontline medics have sacrificed to ensure that any Kenyan who tests positive for Covid-19 is given the best medical care and support.”

With the increase in coronavirus cases in Kenya, access to safe healthcare has been a challenge to both those seeking the services and healthcare providers.

The Ministry of Health in the last week announced that 257 healthcare workers had tested positive, and two weeks ago, Kenya buried the first doctor to succumb to Covid-19.

Close down

Alfred Obengo, the chair of Kenya National Union of Nurses, called on county governments to show commitment in caring for health workers and preparedness to combat Covid-19.

“Actions speak louder than words. Too many sweet words yet no meaningful preparedness and commitment.

Health workers must be treated with dignity,” Obengo said.

Kenya’s first case of coronavirus was reported in March.

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