A male watchman at the Bungoma County Referral Hospital helped a woman deliver a baby boy as health workers began their strike yesterday.
Benson Wanyonyi was manning the main gate when the expectant woman arrived, and was experiencing labour pains. Her cry for help caught Wanyonyi’s attention.
Rosebela Marani, 32, had visited the hospital for health services oblivious of the strike.
Ms Marani was stranded as there was no one to help her deliver at the facility, prompting the guard to rush to her aid.
“I came here seeking medical attention as I was experiencing labour pains. I was then informed that medical workers were on strike and I could no longer move further. I am glad the guard helped me out,” she said.
Mr Wanyonyi said he was at his post at the main entrance and when he saw the woman at the waiting area in pain, he swung into action.
He said he had no prior medical experience and was only seeking to find out what was ailing the woman and realised she was in labour.
The guard said he was glad that he managed to help her despite not having any experience.
The baby is said to be in stable condition.
“I was at the main entrance when the woman was brought on a motorcycle. She soon discovered the workers were on strike and was contemplating rushing to a nearby private facility but she was overwhelmed. I ran to the outpatient department and got some gloves and assisted her,” he said.
The incident shocked onlookers as other patients were being discharged from the hospital.
Part of the male surgical ward was deserted as relatives struggled to discharge their patients and transfer them to other facilities.
Meanwhile, public hospitals across the city were deserted as patients were turned away.
Sick children wailing on the backs of their helpless mothers as they walked home after running out of options were common along city roads.
For the aged who could not be attended to, they had to be helped by their young relatives back into their hired vehicles as they contemplated their next course of action.
All county hospitals had beefed up surveillance to ensure the media does not have a chance to establish the impact of the strike.
Even as Nairobi Health Executive Bernard Muya insisted the situation was ‘not that bad’, the facilities visited by The Standard, revealed patients with no appointment, were simply turned away.
Only patients who had appointments were seen by the clinicians.
At Mama Lucy Hospital, some medics were spotted basking in the sun, but still dressed in their official white overalls.
PACING UP AND DOWN
“Usually, I spend just 30 minutes when I bring my son for check-ups but today I was not attended to by 11am,” said Celina Mungai who had visited Mbagathi Hospital.
But even as she was upbeat that her son had been treated, Sarah Njambi and Joyleen Minyika who had walked from Kibera to access treatment for their three-year-old daughters were stranded.
“We were here at 9.30am and we were told that without appointments, we cannot be treated,” said Joyleen.
She added: “But we waited to see if the situation would change and they would call us. It has not happened and we are fast approaching 1pm.”
After pacing up and down the hospital corridors, discussing the situation between themselves, the two emerged rather confused.
“We have decided to walk to Kenyatta National Hospital. It is our only hope,” said Joyleen as she tied her three-year-old daughter to her back with a leso, the baby sweating profusely.
At KNH, however, services were running as usual. Unlike the earlier threats that all services would be withdrawn, including those at the emergency, The Standard noted normalcy at the hospital.