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Home / Health & Science

Shame of new hospitals turned into grazing and playing grounds

By MERCY KAHENDA | 4 years ago

 Bel-Bur dispensary in Njoro Sub County, that is not operating despite having been completed. Locals in the area said they welcomed the facility but are being forced to walk long distances in search of health services. PHOTO BY MERCY KAHENDA

Politicians have taken advantage of health devolution for personal political gains, medics say.

South Rift Kenya Medical Practitioners Board (KMDP) Secretary General Davji Atellah says counties concentrate on building new hospitals without equipping and staffing them. They have also ignored the existing ones.

“It is unfortunate that politicians are interested in wooing residents that they are bringing services closer to the people by building hospitals that stall and are left without employees,” Dr Atellah says.

A visit by The Standard on Sunday of the newly established facilities in Nakuru County revealed deplorable state of the new hospitals yet to be equipped and residents still walk tens of kilometres to seek services.

Some of the new facilities have cracked walls and floors. Children play inside some of them that are left open, despite their completion.

At Bel-Bur Dispensary in Njoro Sub-county, animals graze freely within the compound, while boys play football. Window panes and water pipes have been vandalised.

Mathew Katamu, a resident, says they expected the facility to be completed to provide basic services, including testing and treating malaria, cholera and pneumonia, diseases that are more common.

Mr Katamu says it is unfortunate that despite the dispensary having been completed, patients still walk for kilometres in search of medical services.

He says they seek services at Njoro Health Centre, approximately 50km away and are forced to wait for more hours when they reach the facility.

Katamu says the facility further refers patients to the Rift Valley Provincial General Hospital, a facility that serves patients from Nakuru and neighbouring counties, including Baringo, Nyandarua, Bomet, Kericho and Samburu.

“This facility was meant to bring services closer to the people but see how criminals are vandalising it because it is not operating. The county should equip this hospital to save locals the agony of seeking services miles away,” he says.

Another resident, Anne Tanui, says women had high expectations of receiving antenatal and postnatal services from the facility as a majority of them are now attended to by untrained midwives.

“Women are frustrated when they walk for long distances in search of reproductive health services. A majority, therefore, opt to visit midwives, which attributes to a high maternal and child mortality rate,” she says.

According to a report by the County Assembly, Sh3 million was allocated for building the facility.

The Status Report for the County Roads, Transport and Public Works Project for Financial Year 2014/15 states that the dispensary was completed in 2015, but it is not operational because it lacks an incinerator, electricity, drainage and water installation. It has not been fenced.

Broken windows

Gichobu Dispensary in the same sub-county is also complete, but not operational. It has broken windows, cracked walls and water seeps through the flooded floor. During the rainy seasons, some people shelter inside the hospital rooms that have been left open.

Resident Samuel Muturi tells The Standard on Sunday that they welcomed the project, but it has now turned into a hiding place for criminals.

Mr Muturi says the area is a no-go zone at late hours of the night because criminals hide at a doctor’s consultation room.

“This hospital should be demolished,” he says. Residents still seek services at Njoro Health Centre and the provincial general hospital.

The report by MCAs states that most facilities are completed, but are not operational. Some facilities are also said to be substandard.

Satewa Dispensary in Elberfon Ward is among those not operating, according to the report, despite having been allocated Sh1.8 million in 2013.

The floor of the facility has started cracking.

“Satewa Dispensary was started in 2013. Though it is complete, there is need for water installation, incinerator, electricity as well as toilets,” reads the report.

Menengai Maternity Clinic that was allocated Sh5.4 million in 2013/14 has stalled and this has been attributed to a power line passing over the facility blocking further construction. Other stalled facilities include Munanda, Nyokerio and Milolen dispensaries.

Nakuru Health Executive Mungai Kabii says 28 new facilities were built by the County Government, while 13 were funded by the National Government Constituency Development Fund.

Mr Kabii says the county is in the process of equipping and staffing the new facilities and they are expected to operate smoothly by December.

“The main challenge in opening the new facilities is high wage bill that has stopped the county from hiring new staff,” he says.

Visoi MCA Kamau Gitau says locals have resolved to employ nurses to run Rajwala and Baraka dispensaries because they are in dire need of services.

“The only assistance I want from County Government now is purchase of drugs because the executive is not willing to employ nurses and doctors. Locals are ready to take over operation,” says Gitau.

In Kuresoi North, residents decry the poor state of Ikumbi Health Centre that serves an overwhelming large number of people, but lacks most basic facilities.

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