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When will doctors and State end all this suffering?

By Protus Onyango | Published Wed, January 11th 2017 at 00:00, Updated January 10th 2017 at 21:36 GMT +3
Patients on long queues as they wait to be attended to at St. Mary’s Mission Hospital, Lang’ata. Since the beginning of doctors strike, the facility has been receiving a lot of patients. PHOTO BY NANJINIA WAMUSWA

No one understands the pain of losing a first-born son more than Consolata Masieyi of Matungu, Kakamega County.

On December 10, the 50-year-old woman was cooking for her other children when she received a call that would change her life forever.

Her son, Lawrence Aruma, 30, had been involved in a road accident at Shianda in Mumias.

The caller advised her to travel to the scene that will forever remain etched in her mind. "I gathered strength, summoned a boda boda rider and pleaded with him to take me to the scene. It took us an hour to get to Shianda," Ms Masieyi recalls.

When she got there, her son's body was soaked in so much blood that witnesses had already written him off.

"I checked and realised that his forehead had a deep cut. Witnesses told me he was riding a motorbike when a driver of a car lost control and hit him. He was still breathing," she said. The distraught mother requested them to help her carry him to Shianda medical clinic.

"At the health centre, we were only greeted by security personnel and empty hospital desks," she narrates.

She sat there helpless for six hours until 3pm when a Kenya Red Cross Society ambulance came to her aid.

Aruma, who was in unimaginable pain and still bleeding, was taken to St Mary's Mumias hospital.

"My boy died when he was being admitted. He bled for seven hours. I believe that if doctors weren't on strike, those at Shianda could have saved my son," Masieyi says with pain written all over her face.

Her case illustrates the pain of thousands of Kenyans who can't afford medical care in private hospitals have been going through since doctors went on strike, 37 days ago. Many have lost their loved ones.

The family of John Ogutu from Kasipul Kabondo, Homa Bay County also blames the doctors' strike for the death of their son Alex Ogutu.

"If the doctors never went on strike, my son would have recovered and would be alive today. I blame doctors and the Government for the death of my son," John says.

Alex, who sat the 2016 KCPE exam at Gangri Primary School, suffered multiple fractures on his left hand when he fell from a mango tree, a week before Christmas. At Kenyatta National Hospital terminally ill patients were left in agony after 290 consultants withdrew their services, joining the striking doctors.