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Nurses take charge on week 4 of doctors strike in Kenya

By Standard Team | Published Thu, December 29th 2016 at 00:00, Updated December 28th 2016 at 21:04 GMT +3
In Uasin Gishu, more nurses have taken charge of public health facilities. Patients in need of critical care were referred to Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) even though its doctors are also on strike.

Clinical officers and nurses have taken charge in health facilities as the doctor’s strike enters its fourth week.

Still, hospitals across the country remained largely deserted as patients continued to flock to private health facilities.

In the usually busy Mama Lucy Hospital, Nairobi, three patients sat quietly inside the deserted waiting bay.

A spot check by The Standard yesterday revealed that the situation is no different at Mbagathi District Hospital where only nurses could be seen.

Other than the nurses and casual workers, the hospitals remained empty with most of the wards locked, including maternity.

A source at the facility revealed that the clinical officers were only attending to outpatient cases while the maternity, emergency and surgery sections remained non-operational.

“We cannot risk admitting an expectant mother without the presence of a doctor because of various possible complications, so we refer them elsewhere.” she said.

At Dagoreti Sub County Hospital, Magdalene Mutune, a nurse at the hospital said they have had to refer several cases that they were not able to handle.

“We had to refer cases with potential complications to hospitals of their choice because we have no doctors to attend to such cases,” said Mutune.

Pumwani Maternity Hospital has erected a bold sign clearly warning journalists to steer clear from the facility.

In Kirinyaga, public hospitals have remained ghost institutions as the doctor’s strike continues to bite.

Although Nurses were present in the respective hospitals, patients have shied away from seeking medical attention there preferring private facilities.

A cross section of patients interviewed said they preferred seeking medical services in private hospitals where they are sure of being taken care of, though at a fee.

‘’At our general hospitals, yes you can access a clinical officer who can examine and prescribe medication for you but if your ailment requires admission, then you cannot, since doctors are still on strike,’’ said Gitari Mburia, whose mother is sick.

In Uasin Gishu, more nurses have taken charge of public health facilities.

Patients in need of critical care were referred to Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) even though its doctors are also on strike.

A number of private facilities in the region witnessed an increased number of patients, mainly those suffering from complex conditions.

 — Reports by Lonah Kibet, Munene Kamau and Silah Koskei