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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 
UN urges Kenya to enhance occupational
safety for doctors to end HIV epidemic

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has urged Kenya to strengthen its occupational safety and health conditions for doctors in order to end the HIV epidemic.

UNAIDS Country Director for Kenya Jantine Jacobi told a media briefing in Nairobi on Thursday that the East African nation requires a healthy workforce in order to end HIV as a public health threat by the year 2030.

“We are working with other partners to try to address the issue of stigma and discrimination of health workers who are infected with HIV so that they can access the care they need,” Jacobi said during a forum to discuss issues relating to occupational safety and health for doctors.

Currently 1.6 million people are living with HIV in the country, amongst them health workers.

She added that Kenya needs a better caring program for doctors because the country is losing doctors due to work-related stress including HIV.

Jacobi said that the workplace should be a safe environment where employees can perform their task without the fear of injury or death.

“Kenya should develop and implement workplace safety and health programs in order to improve the welfare of doctors,” she added.

Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentist Union Secretary General, Fredrick Oluga, said that occupational safety and health of medical practitioners is an integral component of a functioning healthcare system.

“However, this understanding seems not to be shared across the system as doctors have been neglected and their wellbeing either forgotten or not prioritized leading to deterioration of safety and health of doctors with fatalities being reported in some cases,” Oluga said.

He added that there is lack of confidential and proper reporting channels in regards to injuries sustained at the workplace while the stigma associated with seeking medical care amongst doctors continues to impede the access to medical care for doctors.

           

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