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Referral hospital shuts doors as medics' strike bites

By MICAH SALI | 4 months ago

Bungoma County Referral Hospital has been closed indefinitely after nurses and clinical officers deserted their work stations and left patients to their own devices.

On Monday, nurses and clinicians across the country made good their threat to boycott work over poor working conditions.

The referral hospital Medical Superintendent Dr David Wanikina told patients to seek treatment elsewhere as they suspended both inpatient and outpatient services.

"We advise outpatients to seek health services at a facility of their choice till the strike is called off," Dr Wanikina said in a memo dated December 7.

He asked relatives of inpatients to organise and relocate their kin to other hospitals.

"We are sorry for any inconveniences caused," the terse notice said.

The decision has hit patients hard as most private facilities are stretched with admissions or expensive for the locals.

Those seeking dialysis sessions were shocked to be sent away as the renal unit remained closed.

"I am forced to go to Lifecare or Bungoma West hospitals for dialysis clinics and this will lead to extra costs," said Crispus Mafura, 80, a kidney failure patient at the facility.

Bungoma CEC for Health Dr Anthony Walela could not be reached for comment as he did not answer calls.

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The Kenya National Union of Nurses (Knun) Secretary-General Seth Panyako said 23,000 nurses started the industrial action and will only resume duty after their demands are met.

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