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Busia doctors and nurses vow to stay away from dirty wards

By Ignatius Odanga | April 4th 2017
Heaps of waste lie uncollected outside Ward-Five at the Busia County Referral Hospital. (Photo: Ignatius Odanga/Standard)

Services at the Busia County Referral Hospital have been paralysed because of poor sanitation.

This follows a strike by workers contracted to clean the hospital. The workers say they have not been paid for the past three months.

Because of the strike, the facility has not been cleaned for weeks now.

Doctors and nurses are concerned that the rapidly accumulating dirt at the facility might trigger a cholera outbreak.

When The Standard visited the hospital yesterday heaps of used gloves, syringes, and cotton littered the wards.

Maternity Wards

The situation was worse in the maternity ward where placentas and used gloves were heaped in one corner of a corridor.

Admission of expectant mothers to the maternity wing has been stopped.

There was a foul smell coming from some of the wards, with leftover food strewn along the corridors.

The situation could have been worse had inmates from Korinda Prison not been ferried in to do some cleaning up.

Doctors and nurses are now threatening to join the cleaners’ strike to protest at the unhygienic conditions.

According to the secretary-general of the Busia chapter of the Kenya National Union of Nurses, Zedekiah Musuku, nurses will not continue working in the dirty environment.

“Nurses are soon going to withdraw their services at the Busia county referral hospital until it is cleaned up,” he said.

The chairman of the Busia branch of the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union, Sande Charo, said doctors have already stopped working and that they will only resume when the situation is remedied.

“They will resume services after the county government has addressed the issue of sanitation,” said Dr Charo.

Nurses said it was difficult to attend to patients when the risk of infections spreading was so high.

A nurse who did not want to be named for fear of victimisation said she and her colleagues stayed out of the wards because of the foul smell. “I am worried for our patients who have to endure the stinking medical waste that has been dumped in the hospital’s corridors,” she said.

The patients complained that the wards were becoming unbearable. Ms Alice Orengo, who took her brother to the hospital after he broke his leg, said she could not sit in the ward.

“But the patients have to remain inside because some cannot walk,” she said.

Governor Sospeter Ojaamong told journalists that the money to pay the cleaners had been factored in the county’s supplementary budget but has yet to be released.

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