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Shame of VIP condolences for Dr Stephen Mogusu, shocking letter but zero responsibility

By Hilary Kimuyu December 9th, 2020 3 min read

From Deputy President William Ruto to Machakos Governor Dr Alfred Mutua, politicians rushed to tweet flowery condolences on learning of Dr Stephen Mogusu’s death from Covid-19 on Monday.

However, no national or county leader has taken responsibility for his demise while in the frontline in the fight against the ravaging Covid-19.

On his death bed, Dr Mogusu, who was deployed to Machakos County through National Government’s Universal Health Coverage programme, left a letter that has shocked many.

“My dear colleagues, let me take this opportunity to admonish you today to get out while you can with your health or life intact,” Dr Mogusu appealed to fellow medics before his death.

His young family will not be compensated for his death.

“Usually I’d write and write but today I just want to say save your miserable selves from those institutions, you’ll live to earn again,” he continued.

The father of one, at the time of his death, had reportedly not earned a penny for five months.

“I have had the COVID-19 ARDS for 5 days tonight and I will say not even a full pocket can replenish what has been lost on high O2 flows all manner of masks and begging for one more gasp of fresh air,” the young doctor said as he painted a picture of how he was fighting for his life in the ICU ward.

“I am not in any way inviting arguments or response to my post, am too weak to type anymore. Save yourselves,” he concluded.

He lost the battle to Covid-19 on Monday, according to Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists Union, who said he had no medical insurance despite working in the frontline.

On Sunday, acting KMPDU Secretary General Dr Chibanzi Mwachonda appealed to Kenyans to contribute towards his ballooning health bill before his demise.

“The family of Dr Stephen Mogusu a frontline soldier who is battling for his life in ICU due to Covid-19 Complications is appealing to Kenyans of goodwill to contribute for his urgent medical expenses…The sad reality of our doctors,” wrote Dr Mwachonda on Twitter, only hours before Dr Mogusu succumbed to the illness.

At the time of his death, he had accrued a bill of Sh1.5 million.

Like many helpless Kenyans, politicians seemed to point fingers at shadows, on who is to blame and what should be done following the death of the young doctor.

Machakos Governor Dr Alfred Mutua, who revealed that Dr Mogusu was sent to his county by the national government “UHC programme pay” received majority of backlash from Kenyans after he claimed that doctors employed by his government were happy; “They have the right protective gear, no salary arrears, receive allowances and they have an insurance cover.”

“Improper that his, the National Government, had not paid him for months.”

He added, “As a fraternity it is sad, it is sad when we lose one of our own. For days we have been praying for him, communicating with his family and even offered free treatment for him.”

Mutua added, “We honestly thought he would pull through.”

The comments that followed, some of them, were not too kind as a section of ‘tweeps’ accused Dr Mutua of being self-centered and insensitive.

In his eulogy, DP Ruto said Dr Mogusu was “a brilliant and selfless medic dedicated to deliver critical care and support to our country during this Covid-19 crisis.”

He said his death was a demonstration “that we must deploy all our energies and resources to protect and save our heroes at the frontline from this pandemic at this particular time. Kenyans too must be protected from this ravage.”

On his part, ODM Party leader Raila Odinga cautioned the doctors telling them, “It’s not only doctors who are dying… we are also in a hard position economically… this is not the time to hold the government at ransom.”

Odinga’s response came as clinical officers in the country went on strike over poor working conditions and pay grievances.

“The doctors themselves took an oath to protect lives, how then can you justify downing of tools when people are dying?” he posed.

Clinical officers and nurses said they were tired of the empty rhetoric and downed their tools.

Kenya has lost more than 30 doctors and nine clinical officers to the virus since March.

The total infections in Kenya were more than 88,579, recoveries stood at 69,414 and 1,531 succumbed to Covid-19, according to latest figures released by the Ministry of Health on Tuesday.

Kenya, which reported its first case of the disease on March 13, had tested 934,215 by December 7.