Pupil among new moth­ers hit hard by nurses’ strike

With the wards full, pa­tients say they have been forced out of the ma­ter­nity wing

Daily Nation (Kenya) - - NATIONAL NEWS - NYABOGA KIAGE nki­age@ke.na­tion­media.com

Hos­pi­tal ad­min­is­tra­tor says they are try­ing their best to han­dle pa­tients

AClass Eight pupil in a Kisii school is among eight women forced into a con­gested ward at Christa Mar­ri­ane Hos­pi­tal be­cause they have nowhere else to go.

Speak­ing to the Sun­day Na­tion, the pupil, who is sched­uled to sit the Kenya Cer­tifi­cate of Pri­mary Ed­u­ca­tion ex­am­i­na­tion, burst into tears as she nar­rated how she was forced out of the ma­ter­nity ward with her one­week-old daugh­ter and into the de­ten­tion ward.

“They told me they were let­ting me go which was good news for me only to re­alise that they were bring­ing us to this room,” said the dis­traught girl.

In the wards, they are forced to sleep on three thin mat­tresses joined to­gether which she shares with the rest of the moth­ers and their in­fants.

She said in most cases they end up not sleep­ing be­cause they all can­not fit on the tiny mat­tresses with their ba­bies.

“We are not even al­lowed to get out of this room. We ask for per­mis­sion to go to the toi­let as we do in school and come back,” she said.

The hos­pi­tal ad­min­is­tra­tor Beatrice Sa­bato said they were com­pelled to take pa­tients there be­cause of con­ges­tion in the wards. “All our hos­pi­tal beds are oc­cu­pied and we are plan­ning to re­lease them,” she said. “We are try­ing our best to deal with this.”

The hos­pi­tal in Kisii County has be­come the most avail­able res­cue cen­tre for many af­ter nurses in public hos­pi­tals went on strike three months ago. Pa­tients from Kil­go­ris in Narok County, Nyamira, Mig­ori and Kisii are throng­ing the pri­vate fa­cil­ity, forc­ing the hos­pi­tals to put beds even on cor­ri­dors in the wards.

A spot check re­vealed that the fa­cil­ity is over­stretched es­pe­cially in the ma­ter­nity wing, forc­ing moth­ers to share beds. It emerged that the sit­u­a­tion is so bad that some pa­tients who have not paid med­i­cal bills were de­tained in the hos­pi­tal’s board­room.

Mr Kelvin Ochieng’, whose wife had given birth, said you have to fol­low doc­tors and re­quest them to at­tend to your pa­tient be­cause they are over­whelmed. “They pro­vide qual­ity ser­vices but the num­ber of pa­tients here is so high that you have to be very close to the doc­tors so that they lis­ten to you,” he said.

Lit­tle food

Mr Ochieng’ urged the nurses who are on strike to agree with the Coun­cil of Gover­nors for the ben­e­fit of Kenyans.

A sim­i­lar call was made by Ms Shelvin Sabina who went to see a pa­tient at the fa­cil­ity. She said there was a need for the govern­ment to end the stale­mate.

“Pa­tients are not even al­lowed to heal well be­fore they are dis­charged. Those at the ma­ter­nity wards stay for three days and they are asked to leave,” said Ms Sabina. Pa­tients also ex­pressed con­cern about the lit­tle time they are given to heal. For in­stance, the pupil said she was still ex­pe­ri­enc­ing lower ab­dom­i­nal pain af­ter de­liv­er­ing through Cae­sar­ian sec­tion. The rest of the moth­ers in the de­ten­tion room also ex­pressed sim­i­lar sen­ti­ments.

In the same room is yet another Form Two girl who has been there for close to two weeks. She painfully ex­plained how they were forced to share a meal when­ever any one of them re­ceived a vis­i­tor be­cause the hos­pi­tal feeds them only once a day.

“We have to share the lit­tle we get each day. We just have to bear with the sit­u­a­tion as we wait for our rel­a­tives and friends to foot the bill,” she said, adding that it would be un­fair to eat alone as the rest watch.

Ac­cord­ing to her, there is al­ways a watch­man stand­ing by the door of the room and never al­lows them to take their chil­dren out­side.

“With this cold and rainy weather in Kisii, we do not un­der­stand how they could be so in­hu­man and pre­vent us from tak­ing our chil­dren out in the sun es­pe­cially when most of us don’t have warm enough clothes for them,” she said.

Ms Chris­tine Omondi, 23, who has been de­tained at the med­i­cal fa­cil­ity for a month, termed some health work­ers heartless. She said that de­spite some of them be­ing in se­vere pain, the health work­ers ig­nored their re­quests for checkup or change of dress­ing.

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