Sick abandoned as Kenyan doctors’ strike continues
Sick Kenyans were turned away from hospitals, and patients left stranded in their wards as a crippling strike by doctors and nurses demanding pay rises entered a second day yesterday. Several patients are reported to have died as a result of lack of care in public hospitals, many of which are completely unstaffed. Kenyans have been directed to private clinics that are unaffordable to the majority of the population.
“We have had a lot of patients leaving our facility because we have no services offered due to the ongoing strike,” said David Mukabi, the superintendent in charge of Busia hospital in western Kenya. He said a 24-year-old patient had died on Monday night as a result of the stayaway. Meanwhile two women died at the Port Victoria Hospital in western Budalangi. “Two patients died last night ... because of the strike because there was no one to attend to them,” said an official at the hospital. Local media reported tales of patients suffering burns or in labour left stranded in front of hospitals. At one hospital in western Kenya a security guard had to help a woman give birth, while in another an orphaned child was left alone in an empty ward with no parents to organise her transfer, The Standard daily reported.
At RISD (often spoken as “RIZ’-dee”) on Monday, Stewart donned the new suit to see how it fit, how he moved in it and how well the ventilation and radio communications worked. Gifford was an observer, along with a NASA spacesuit engineer who will provide feedback to ensure that the design best resembles the architecture of suits NASA may use for future exploration missions. It was the suit’s first rigorous test. Stewart said that the ventilation kept him cool and that the suit restricted his movement like a real suit would.
“It’s great to finally be able to put on a full suit and be able to walk around, be able to move in it,” Stewart said. “It makes me feel a lot more like an astronaut.” The white suit is made of heavy-duty nylon fabric; carbon fiber that forms a hard shell for the upper torso area; and foam that replicates the pressurization of an actual suit. It comes in 16 pieces; components can be replaced or resized easily to fit the short and the tall. It weighs about 50 pounds.
Work began after Gifford told Michael Lye, the adjunct faculty member who coordinates projects between the school and NASA, about the opportunity to make a more realistic suit. Gifford said the new suit is great, especially its modularity, because it will fit whomever is on the crew, though the exterior ventilation tubes will have to go inside the suit so they don’t get caught on something or crushed. The suit, the only one RISD made, will be shipped to HISEAS, Lye said. The materials for the suit cost about $10,000, paid for with grants from the HI-SEAS program and the Rhode Island Space Grant Consortium, Lye said. Students in the industrial design and apparel design programs worked on it. RISD is one of the country’s top art and design schools and has a large industrial design department. It has worked with NASA before, including on a project to design space gloves. — AP