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Kisumu hospitals deny patients deaths following doctor’s strike

Health & Science - By Harold Odhiambo and Maureen Odiwuor | January 10th 2017 at 12:00:00 GMT +0300
A deserted outpatient department at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral hospital in Kisumu

Administrators in two hospitals in Kisumu have claimed that the facilities have not registering any deaths despite the doctors' strike.

They said they discharged all patients when the strike began and have not been admitting any patients ever since. Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital chief executive Juliana Otieno said all patients at the facility were discharged.

"We have not registered any deaths because we do not have any patients at the moment," she said, adding that the facility only had two patients; babies who were abandoned.

The two were born with malfunctions but they are doing okay and one of them is six months old, Dr Otieno said. "We have not been admitting any other patients because there are no doctors," she added. This means that the fate of thousands of patients who could have been admitted to the facility remains unknown.

Kisumu County Health Executive Elizabeth Ogaja said Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital admits between 60 and 100 patients daily.

This means the lives of between 2,000 and 2,600 sick Kenyans are in danger.

"People die all the time, not only during strike. (During) early stages, only one HIV patient died, now we would have to do community audit to find out if the people who did not go to the hospital passed on," she said.

Despite Ms Ogaja stating that only one person passed away when the strike began, subordinate staff at Kisumu County Hospital indicated that on the first week of the strike, three people died. The subordinate staff was attending to the patients after the health workers downed their tools. But the workers could only feed the abandoned patients who have now been moved to one ward after a majority were transferred to private hospitals.

Kisumu County Hospital chief executive Amos Otedo denied claims that the facility had registered deaths since the strike began. County Chief Officer of Health Ojwang' Lusi said they did not have any records. He said healthcare conditions for people in remote areas were worse as a majority of households were poor.

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