Sick hospitals: Lack of workers and drugs paralyse health services in Nakuru

A file photo of a deserted ward in Kisumu County. Hospitals in Nakuru County have been paralysed with no medicine and medics [File, Standard]

Poor infrastructure and inadequate medical workers are affecting medical services in most of the county's health centres.

Sirikwa health centre in Kuresoi North is one of those affected. The facility, which caters for an average 50 patients daily, has only three employees; a nurse, a clinical officer and a laboratory technician.

The facility also lacks the necessary equipment and space to offer quality services.

“The building is incomplete with no chairs and beds for sick patients. We are forced to squeeze in one room where all the services are offered,” said Kibet Langat, the nurse.

The facility also lacks toilets and flowing water, greatly hampering service delivery.

“We do not have even a single toilet. We are sometimes forced to use toilets in the nearby CDF offices,” said the nurse.

At Teita dispensary in Molo, the situation is no different.

The facility has only one nurse and has been operating without water and electricity.

Muthoni Maurine, a resident, complained they receive limited services due to lack of medical workers.

“There is only one medical worker who does everything. The situation could be better if more health workers are deployed to local dispensaries,” she said.

Most of the facilities have also lack medicines.

Sirikwa for instance has been operating without medicine for the past six months.

“When the dispensary was opened, drugs were supplied but they have never been restocked. We have been operating without medicine since July last year,” said Langat.

Private chemists

The nurses are forced to refer patients to chemists and other facilities where medicines are available.

“We prescribe the medicine but send patients to buy them elsewhere because of the shortage. Most patients get medicine from private chemists in the villages."

Ndege dispensary has two nurses and one watchman.

The facility does not offer family planning services and laboratory services. Its electricity was cut off due to non-payment of bills.

These are just some of the health centres and dispensaries, which were opened by the county government to bring services closer to the residents, which are facing a myriad challenges.

A report by a task force of the county health committee recently revealed that most health centres and dispensaries cannot provide health services effectively.

The task force, headed by Dr James Tuitoek, noted that most of these facilities were understaffed.

“Most of the facilities across the county are understaffed and do not have enough resources to ensure effective service delivery,” read the report.

Nakuru West Dispensary and many others lacked incinerators and waste was stored in unutilised rooms.

Health Executive Jonah Mwangi said plans were on course to equip the facilities and staff them adequately.

“We are currently in the process of employing more medical workers. We are also working to ensure that the recommendations of the task force are implemented,” said Mwangi.