Patients discharged as strike by doctors takes toll

Jackton Okello who is nursing a bullet wound on his leg at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital. Nurses told him he would be discharged following the ongoing strike by medics. [Mactilda Mbenywe, Standard]

Public hospitals in Kisumu were discharging patients, some of them too sick to walk, as the strike by doctors and clinical officers continued to cripple services.

Most affected was the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital where nurses said they could not continue handling patients when the doctors  and clinical officers were away.

The doctors and clinical officers are demanding better remuneration.

One of the affected patients, Vera Akinyi, 12, had undergone a third head surgery at the hospital and her wound is yet to heal, but she was being wheeled out of the ward.

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Her mother Sylvia Anyango said she had been called to come for her daughter after staying in the hospital for two months.

Ms Anyango told The Standard that her daughter’s wound had not been checked for the last three days since the onset of doctors’ strike.

“Nurses have advised me to buy her drugs from the chemist and if her condition worsens, I should take her to any nearby hospital,” explained Anyango.

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Jackton Okello is still nursing a bullet wound on his leg. He has undergone surgeries and still feels weak, but says that nurses had told him he should be discharged.

“I feel weak and not sure if I will be okay when discharged because my leg still hurts,” said Mr Okello at the male medical ward.

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A spot check at the facility showed that many wards were being emptied, with only the trauma and emergency unit remaining operational.

At the unit, nurses were only responding to emergency cases. “We are only looking at active bleeding cases to stop the bleeding and discharge the patients,” said a nurse.

At the Kisumu County Hospital, The Standard established that all patients at the female ward had been discharged. At the peadiatric, male medical and female surgical wards, only two patients were remaining in each ward.

The acting Medical Superintendent, Thaddeus Massawa, said it has been challenging to carry out normal activities at the facility.

Dr Massawa said with the help of three clinical officers and a few consultant specialists and medical interns, the facility was able to attend to emergencies.

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“We are trying as much as possible to attend to patients without subjecting them to more pain,” said Massawa.

Last Friday, doctors joined clinical officers in a paralysing strike, accusing the county government of stalled promotions.

Through their officials, the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union, 127 medical doctors accused the county government of showing little interest in the health sector and vowed to remain on strike until their complaints were addressed.

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The StandardJaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospitalclinical officersstrike by doctors