A woman died while in labour and others have had to persevere a 230-kilometre journey to deliver safely following the breakdown of the only anaesthetic machine at King Fahd Lamu District Hospital.
The machine broke down a month ago, according to medical officials at the institution. It was more than 10 years old.
A new one costs approximately Sh700,000. The machine is used to pump oxygen in a patient’s lungs and keep him unconsciousness in an operation.
Those who deliver naturally have no problems at the hospital.
The problem affects those who need caesarean sections, said the institution’s medical superintendent Gilbert Maradi.
A Lamu resident also blames, a poor road network for the danger expectant women face.
“In an attempt to get to Malindi, we experienced three punctures between Mpeketoni and Witu, and the woman got too weak,” said Mr Mohammad Athman.
A development activist, a Mr Athman, said efforts to get the attention of area MPs for assistance were underway.
However, the situation is not unique to the island, as the Coast Provincial General Hospital is also experiencing the same.
Hospital sources said patients requiring caesarean sections were sometimes referred to a neighbouring hospital.
Only one of the four anaesthetic machines is working in the main theatre, while only one of the two in the maternity section is operational.
The chief administrator, Ms Jennifer Othigo, dismissed the situation as temporary.
“The machines are old but we had reported the case to the head office and were expecting spare parts for repairs immediately after the Easter holiday,” she said.