It's agony for poor patients seeking help at Mama Lucy

The main entrance to Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital, Nairobi. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Mercy Mumbua’s tears flow freely as she is wheeled to an emergency wing at Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital. She is in pain. Her legs can barely support her body after a motorcycle she had boarded was thrown off balance by a matatu around Donholm.

Her corduroy black trouser is soiled from the accident not long ago. The few nurses at Mama Lucy are walking up and down. One female patient lies on a lonely couch behind a pillar. No one is attending to her.

A matatu crew that brought her to the hospital approaches one medic and hands her some documents. She then comes with a syringe and a needle to give her an injection.

What Mercy did not immediately know is that despite the intensity of her injuries, she wouldn’t receive medical attention at the facility as fast as she expected. The Imaging department wanted her minders to pay Sh3,300 for an X-ray. 

After a few calls, she makes up her mind to be wheeled back to a vehicle that would take her to Komarock Hospital.

Another patient who was attacked by robbers in Mukuru kwa Njenga and sustained multiple cuts on his head is lying 10 metres from the emergency department. His is a heavily bandaged head oozing blood. He waits helplessly for his painkillers. We are told he has been waiting since Wednesday. His name is Alex Okello.

Okello tells The Standard that after getting first aid, no other service has been rendered him. Some cuts on his head are not sutured and are openly attracting flies.

A widower from Kariobangi is also struggling to make sure that his only son is seen by a doctor in time but there is no one to examine the young convulsing boy.

A nurse offers to assist and leads them to the Palliative Care Unit which is the only one at Mama Lucy with a doctor.

He says that his son had been at Mama Margaret Uhuru KNH Annex in Kariobangi but it has since been closed. In the midst of the doctors’ and clinical officers’ strike the humble population is now seeking services at Mama Lucy.

At Mama Margaret Uhuru KNH Annex, we found only one staff and several security guards. The gate of the facility was locked and no patient were being allowed in.

“The county government came and told us to evacuate all patients because they’re taking over the hospital,” the employee said, adding they took all the equipment back to KNH with 100 patients relocated.

As we were there getting to know what happened, Jackline Awino, a resident of Ngomongo suffering from arthritis who didn’t know of the hospital’s closure, pulled up.

Her surgery is due, but she doesn’t know what to do now that doctors are on strike. But she has other complexities and needed medical attention. The news of the closure of the hospital hit her hard, she walked slowly to take a rest in a boda boda shade by the gate of the hospital.

We approached her and after explaining her woes to us, we decided to accompany her to Jumuia Hospital in Huruma.

At the facility, she couldn’t be treated because her NHIF card is not registered at the facility as outpatient.

She decides to walk back home to buy over the counter to buy drugs to cool her pain.