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MCA: Coffin trade near hospitals is killing patients

By Rushdie Oudia | February 18th 2016
Edward Ochieng paints coffin outside Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital in Kisumu. PIC BY COLLINS ODUOR

A Member of Kisumu County Assembly is pushing for coffin businesses to be moved away from the precincts of hospitals.

Jacktone Onunga (Nyalenda) claims the presence of coffins near hospitals traumatises patients.

Mr Onunga will table a motion in the county assembly next week. If the motion goes through, coffin sellers will have to move their businesses away from hospitals.

"Many people have complained about the presence of coffins next to hospitals. Moving them will restore confidence in most patients because when most of them see the coffins, they feel half dead," said Onunga.

However, coffin sellers have protested strongly and accused the MCA of plotting to "kill" their businesses.

"Our presence cannot lead to the death of patients, at what point does a critically ill person raise his or her head to look at coffins?"posed Edward Ochieng, who has been in the business for close to 15 years.

He said that contrary to what the MCA was saying, members of the public actually want coffins close to hospitals.

"These people usually want to find coffins quickly so that they can transport bodies," said Mr Ochieng.

He added: "We do not celebrate the death of people, but it is just business. If we can be given an alternative place we have no problem. We will move because our customers will know where we are. But we doubt we will be relocated by the county government," he said.

Another trader, Fred Otieno, said the MCA should come up with motions to strengthen the health sector instead.

"The motion will have huge financial implications on us and the common mwananchi who will be forced to cough out more cash as we will increase our rates if we are moved away from the central business district," said Mr Otieno.

Those in the hearse business have also not taken the motion kindly. They asked MCAs to concentrate on motions that can transform the lives of Kisumu people and not such "jokes".

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