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Patients throng KNH, Kiambu hospitals as city medics strike

Health & ScienceBy Graham Kajilwa And John Karume | Wed,Oct 28 2015 00:00:00 UTC | 3 min read

Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) is said to be overwhelmed by the increase in the number of patients in need of critical care. This comes following a two-day go-slow by health workers, which has affected hospitals under the management of Nairobi County.

“The most affected departments are the emergencies, mainly pediatric, accidents, maternity and patients in need of X-ray services,” said KNH Corporate Affairs Manager Simon Ithai.

 Kiambu Governor William Kabogo (right) issues a letter of appointment to a nurse who was among the 50 who qualified to be employed by the county in a move to curb shortage of nurses in hospitals across the county. There is a two-day go-slow by health workers, which has affected hospitals under the management of Nairobi County.  (PHOTO: JOHN KARUME/STANDARD)

Mr Ithai said the numbers are likely to cause congestion in the hospital, which may overstretch the available facilities and human resource: “This means doctors and nurses will have to work for long hours and if the crisis persists, then health workers on leave will be recalled,” he said. Ithai said the hospital is quite capable of managing the situation as it anticipated the crisis following a notice of the go-slow that would be effective at Mama Lucy, Mbagathi and Pumwani hospitals.

When The Standard visited Mbagathi on Monday, the hospital’s Medical Superintendent Andrew Suleh said operations at the facility were normal.

“Activities here are perfectly normal. In fact, being an outpatient clinic day, we expect a lot of patients coming for check-ups and there are enough doctors and nurses to take care of them,” Dr Suleh had said. “It is true there was a crisis on delayed salaries due to the Treasury cash crunch but it was handled. There were also workers who had their pay delayed since they were put in wrong job groups, which has been streamlined.”

However, The Standard was denied entry to the hospital yesterday, with the guards insisting they were under instructions from the superintendent not to allow journalists in.

 Nurses employed

Elsewhere, Kiambu Governor William Kabogo told his Nairobi counterpart Evans Kidero to put his hospitals in order so that patients from the county can stop seeking treatment in Kiambu. Mr Kabogo said efforts to appeal to Nairobi County government to release some medicine to Kiambu have borne no fruit and they are left with no other option.

“Many patients from Githurai 44, Kariobangi, Mathare and other areas have continuously been seeking treatment here because our facilities are the best and we have drugs all the time, which is not the case in Nairobi,” said Kabogo.

He said nurses and doctors in various hospitals in the county have become overstretched and are even working for longer hours due to the huge number of patients from neighbouring counties, with Nairobi leading with the highest number of patients.

Kabogo was speaking yesterday at the county headquarters in Kiambu town, where he issued 50 new nurses with appointment letters in a move to alleviate shortage of nurses in hospitals across the county.

“I know many are asking why we are employing new nurses while there is cash shortage but it is because we are commited to providing health services to everyone in the county,” said Kabogo.

The governor noted that money to run the county and pay nurses and doctors will be collected from property owners, who have been refusing to remit monthly rates.

He said from next month, the county will issue an amnesty to those who have not paid their rates but immediately after the amnesty, those who refuse to pay risk their properties being put on caveat.

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