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CS Nakhumicha condemns assault on healthcare worker

Health Cabinet Secretary (CS) Susan Nakhumicha has condemned instances of assault on healthcare workers, saying culprits will face the full force of the law.

This follows a recent incident recorded on video and shared widely across online and social media platforms where a healthcare provider at Port Victoria Sub County Hospital in Busia County is seen getting verbally and physically assaulted by a member of the public.

The CS, commenting on the incident via a press statement, said: “Acts of violence against our healthcare workers are not only reprehensible but intolerable. Healthcare workers deserve our utmost respect, as they are the backbone of our healthcare system. They work tirelessly, sometimes under challenging conditions, to ensure the well-being of all citizens across different hospital levels.”

“This recent case of assault on a healthcare worker is not just an attack on an individual; it is an assault on the entire healthcare system and the principles that guide it. Assaulting a healthcare worker not only endangers their lives but also disrupts the vital services they provide to other patients and the community,” said Nakhumicha.

The Cabinet Secretary commended the affected healthcare worker for remaining calm and composed during the incident, urging healthcare seekers to maintain civility while interacting with healthcare workers.

“I want to commend the medic involved for displaying such remarkable composure and professionalism during the incident. We cannot understate the importance of maintaining civility while interacting with healthcare workers. They are our frontline heroes who work under high-demand environments to deliver standard healthcare services to patients from all walks of life. To have this dedication met with violence is disheartening and erodes the fabric of our healthcare infrastructure,” she said.

A study published in 2022 by researchers from, among other institutions, Aga Khan University titled Violence Against Healthcare Workers: ViSHWaS, a cross-sectional sub-analysis across the region, found that approximately half of healthcare workers in Kenya reported experiencing violence, with the most common forms of violence being verbal and emotional abuse, with a small percentage reporting online harassment.

The study, which sampled 1,458 healthcare workers in Kenya, found that approximately half (49.9%) reported experiencing violence, with verbal violence (80.6%) and emotional abuse (78.6%) being common. Patients or their relatives were the most common aggressors (44.7%), while supervisors accounted for 12.5%.

CS Nakhumicha cautioned against continued violence against healthcare workers, calling for mutually respectful engagements between the public and healthcare workers.

“Violence against healthcare workers will not be tolerated, and any person culpable of such an act will be apprehended and face the full wrath of the law. The government remains resolute in its commitment to ensuring the safety and security of our healthcare professionals across the country. Going forward and considering this incident, I call for mutually respectful engagements between members of the public and healthcare providers as we continue to build and maintain a robust health system,” she said.

By Joseph Ng’ang’a 

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