Patients’ agony as staff shortage bites in Homa Bay

Part of Ndhiwa Sub County Hospital wards which have remained closed for four weeks due to shortage of nurses. [James Omoro, Standard]
The county government is on the spot after a major hospital suspended some of its key operations due to lack of staff.

Services at the Ndhiwa Sub-county Hospital have been disrupted for the past four weeks after an international NGO that has been providing it with nurses and clinical officers withdrew its personnel.

The seven nurses and clinical officers are said to have been pulled out after a contract between Médecins Sans Frontières and the hospital expired.

This has forced the hospital’s management to refer patients requiring admission to the Homa Bay County Referral Hospital more than 30km away.

A medical worker who sought anonymity because he is not authorised to speak for the county government, said services had been paralysed at the hospital for the past month, with most of the wards remaining closed.

Residents are now threatening to take to the streets if the county government fails to deploy additional nurses.

“We will resort to demonstrations if the county fails to deploy heath workers who can serve the people,” said Philip Odero, a resident.

Health minister Richard Muga, however, refuted claims the hospital had been closed due to lack of medical personnel, saying they had deployed nurses to the facility.

“I think the wards were vacant because there were no patients. We have deployed three nurses and two more are on the way because we want to have five nurses in the hospital soon.”

But a worker said the three nurses only reported to work for a single day last week and did not return. A spot check by The Standard showed that little work was going on at the hospital as patients opted to travel to other facilities.

A local MP Martin Owino accused the county government of laxity in employing nurses.

“Ndhiwa has several health challenges, including a high prevalence of HIV and Aids. The closure of the hospital will worsen the current state of health. The government should act quickly.”

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