By Karanja Njoroge
Patients admitted at the Rift Valley Provincial General Hospital have protested against a management decision to disallow caretakers in the wards.
A stand off ensued at the hospital yesterday after some of the caretakers resisted attempts by guards to flush them out of the institution.
Relatives and friends take care of patients admitted at the institution.
But newly posted Medical Superintendent John Murema has banned the caretakers and directed that only nurses attend to patients.
Dr Murema said he was shocked to find strangers taking care of patients.
"It is only in this hospital where such a practice exists and we have disallowed it," Murema told The Standard.
Patients and their relatives have opposed the move saying they had to seek help from outsiders due to poor services from hospital staff.
"If the hospital staff could discharge their services as required, then there could be no need for us to have the caretakers," a patient in ward six said.
Some of the people taking care of their patients said they could not leave their relatives at the mercy of the hospital staff.
"We came to look after our patient when we realised he was neglected and could not access basic facilities," said Mr James Mbugua.
Murema, however, dismissed the protests saying the caretakers risked contracting diseases from the hospital wards.
"They do not have the necessary protection gear nor are they trained to look after patients, which exposes them to infections," he said.
The Medical Superintendent said highly contagious diseases like Tuberculosis could be easily spread.
He said the caretakers were also eating hospital food and using its facilities making it incur a huge bill.
He added some of them did not have patients at the institution and were only soliciting money from relatives of the patients under the guise of looking after them.
Murema termed the group a security threat and insisted they would not be allowed in the hospital.
The patients vowed to seek help from outsiders who they say take better care of them than hospital staff.