Operations at Migosi sub-county hospital in Kisumu has been paralysed for the past month over the failure by the county government to settle a Sh100, 000 electricity bill.
This is despite the facility being one of the few hospitals earmarked to help contain the spread of covid-19 in Kisumu County.
It is expected to provide temporary isolation for suspected cases before they are transferred to main isolation units in the county.
The facility’s food stock for patients has also run out and staff are now compelled to force outpatients to carry their own food.
So dire is the situation that the facility has now remained deserted with all its wards empty, including the maternity wing that had been receiving up to 60 deliveries each month.
When The Standard visited the facility yesterday, a few employees and guards sat at a corner waiting for the day to end.
Their hope of saving lives is increasingly diminishing as the failure to restore power at the facility hits hard.
Inside the facility, several machines that require electricity to operate are gathering specks of dust. The supply of water has also been interrupted as there is no power to pump water into the wards.
Interviews with staff established that the situation worsened in the last few weeks with patients now opting for other facilities.
“We have not had electricity for the last month. The facility has been in complete darkness making it difficult for staff to help mothers deliver babies at night,” said a staff who sought anonymity.
The staff claimed that they have now been forced to share three rechargeable small lamps that they bought to assist during emergencies.
The rechargeable lamp is charged outside the facility a well-wisher’s house.
“The situation is worrying given the number of cases that the facilities have been handling in the last few months. The introduction of the Universal Healthcare Coverage (UHC) had brought hopes but now we cannot serve people because there is no electricity,” said another staff.
The facility is also unable to administer vaccines to children as it lacks proper refrigeration for the vaccines.
The situation at the facility mirrors the woes facing several other hospitals across the county even as Governor Anyang Nyong’o plans to restore order in the troubled docket.
Yesterday, however, Nyong’o’s administration downplayed the situation at the facility and claimed that they have been giving the facility the necessary support.
Fred Oluoch, the director of public health told The Standard that the county government had already sent the facility money for their daily operations.
“There is an amount of money that we sent to the facility. They had received the money,” said Oluoch.
Oluoch also denied that the facility lacked food for patients.
Kenya Power confirmed that the county owed them money but said that it will come to their rescue and restore power because of the current concerted efforts to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
Western Kenya regional manager Sarah Wephukulu told The Standard that she has instructed technicians to restore power to all health facilities that had been disconnected.
"We have decided to restore power to all health facilities because they cannot be in darkness at such a critical time," said Wephukulu.