The President instructed the Ministry of Health to give a job to any volunteer who is not permanently employed as a show of appreciation. The President made the pronouncement at State House, Nairobi, yesterday, after 155 of the 170 who traveled to West Africa in January returned to the country.
The 155 landed at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and were driven to State House, where they were hosted by the President.
President Kenyatta said the example set by the medical volunteers will inspire many Kenyans to rise up to the occasion and help in finding solutions. “The problem with many of us is that we like to mourn instead of solving problems. You shall remain an inspiration to many others,” said the President after breakfast with the volunteers.
He said the West African intervention has taught Africa that it can deal with its problems. “You have proven that Africa can provide solutions to its problems and that we in Kenya have the commitment to deal with our issues,” said the President. The deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Erastus Mwencha, said even though the rest of the world had offered to help with the Ebola pandemic, no one was ready to give doctors for fear of the risks involved. “You have contributed to Africa’s quest to be in charge of its destiny,” he said. Cabinet Secretary for Health, James Macharia, said the mission by the medical experts sets a good example of what Kenya can achieve. The CS said Kenya was one of the countries that were most affected by the economic consequences of the Ebola outbreak including the suspension of flights to and from West Africa.
Some members of the team gave their testimony of the journey to confront the ‘unknown’ to support fellow Africans. Dr Nasra Mohamed said they helped stop the disease through infection prevention.
She said the disease spreads through contact and the volunteers from Kenya and other African nations ensured they stopped the transmission of the virus through proper diagnosis and isolation of patients. The Kenyan volunteers also provided other regular medical services in major Liberian hospitals that were under immense pressure. “The African Union operation was the biggest in Liberia and our presence was felt where we served,” she said. Liberia has now been declared Ebola free while Sierra Leone is in the final stages of being declared Ebola Free. 15 medical professionals who were part of the Kenyan team have been left in Sierra Leone to wrap up the AU operation.