By Patrick Mutisya in Machakos County.
Police in Machakos are investigating an incident in which seven public health officers were attacked Wednesday after burying the body of a COVID-19 victim.
The health officers, who had interred the remains of a 60-year-old male resident of Thinu Village, Ngelani Sub-Location in Kathiani Constituency, were on their way out of the homestead in the afternoon when the deceased’s relatives and members of the public attacked them with crude weapons, inflicting serious injuries on some of the healthcare workers.
The family of the deceased was protesting their loved one’s COVID-19 test results, which indicated he died of the contagion after spending months at the Machakos Level 5 Hospital while receiving treatment for a chronic disease.
Machakos County Health minister Dr. Ancent Kituku said upon receiving information about the attack on county healthcare workers at the Thinu Village home, he alerted police who went to the scene and rescued the seven health officers and their driver.
“Our health officers had just buried the deceased according to COVID-19 safety guidelines and were on their way out, when members of the public and the deceased’s relatives blocked them from leaving the homestead. The officers were, thereafter, beaten up by the crowd, which was accusing them of wrongfully diagnosing the deceased with COVID-19,” Dr. Kituku told K24 Digital.
“The eight, including the seven officers and their driver, were injured and taken to Machakos Level 5 Hospital for treatment,” said the county Health minister, adding: “Following that incident, we feel really demoralised as public health officers.”
Dr. Kituku said they have since filed a report at Machakos Town Police Station.
“We hope that authorities will investigate the matter and establish the genesis of the incitement.”