Bribery claims rock Jaramogi Oginga Odinga hospital

The hospital's Chief Executive Officer Peter Okoth yesterday said he was following leads that would unravel the corruption ring's operations. [Courtesy]
The Management of Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital (JOOTRH) has started investigations into claims of corruption involving its workers.

The investigations have been spurred by recent media reports exposing the offence.

On Sunday, a local Television station claimed that JOOTRH employees were asking for as little as Sh50 bribes to attend to desperate patients.

The hospital's Chief Executive Officer Peter Okoth yesterday said he was following leads that would unravel the corruption ring's operations.

“Medics attend to patients privately and it is hard to monitor how they interact with the sick. It is the patients or their relatives who can expose those who ask for bribes," said Mr Okoth.

He explained that in order to handle the corruption allegations in an unbiased manner, both the medics who asked for bribes and the patients who gave should be questioned.

Long queues

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Okoth said to effectively fight corruption, patients should seek services first at dispensaries next to their homes before trooping to the referral hospital, where they grow desperate because of long queues.

“The huge number of patients leads to long waiting time. The medic will attend to many patients than it is recommended, and will be tempted to take bribes from those in a hurry and want to jump the queue," Okoth noted.

Averagely, the facility attends to 1,800 people a day. This forces health workers, whose numbers are dwindling, to extend their working time.

Okoth said the health workers were usually asked to attend to the very sick patients first.

The corruption claims targeting JOOTRH have dominated social media platforms, with some particular staff being mentioned by aggrieved patients.

According to some, who made their complaints public, those who have not registered for Universal Health Care services suffer the most, because they are forced to pay for health services that are supposed to be offered for free.

Some of the nurses said patients seeking X-ray services paid Sh4,000 because the hospital's X-ray equipment was not functional, yet the service should be free.

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