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Helpless child deserted as patients leave Kisumu Hospital

By Maureen Odiwuor | Published Tue, December 6th 2016 at 00:00, Updated December 5th 2016 at 23:23 GMT +3
Baby Hope Awiti, who is physically challenged, rests in her bed at a Kisumu County Hospital’s deserted ward as doctors and nurses began their nationwide strike yesterday. [Photo: Denish Ochieng/ Standard]

Medics have abandoned a four-year-old parent-less child as they downed their tools at the Kisumu County Hospital.

Baby Hope Awiti, as she is referred to by subordinate staff at the hospital, was first abandoned by her parents in September this year at the facility's Maternal-Child Health Centre. A nurse at the facility found the child, who could neither walk nor talk, at the hospital's waiting bench.

At first, it was thought the child was about eight months old but further examination of her dental formula showed she was about four years old.

The child had stunted growth and her condition was being monitored at the facility.

After the hospital failed to trace Awiti's parents, the baby was admitted to the paediatric ward and nurses had assumed a parental role over her.

But with the ongoing strike, the child, who needs special attention, is currently at the mercy of cleaners at the facility who try to assist her despite the fact that they do not have have the relevant training.

Sella Kerubo, who has been taking care of her at the facility, said they do not know how the child will survive without their assistance when they sign off after their shift.

"This child was first abandoned by her parents and now by the nurses. The hospital is the only home she knows," Kerubo said.

When The Standard visited the facility yesterday, Baby Hope was lonely and with no one taking care of her. But the situation turned worse a few hours later as parents who had their children in the facility left to seek medical assistance in private facilities, leaving Baby Hope alone in the ward.

Apart from the Paediatric Ward, the maternity wing was also badly affected, with women who had visited for health care being turned away.

Four women who had just had blood transfusions and needed to be monitored were released from the hospital and told to go back home.

At ward five, also referred to as Surgical Ward, angry patients demanded to be given their files so they could seek medication elsewhere.

A spot check at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital revealed the outpatient wing was deserted and in-patients were being assisted by Kenya Medical Training College interns.

As the situation worsened in the hospitals, nurses were demonstrating on the streets of Kisumu.

Kenya National Nurses Union Kisumu Branch's Organising Secretary Anne Owiti said they will not relent until the already negotiated Collective Bargaining Agreement is effected.