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Crisis as patients flock Embu after Kirinyaga hospital crisis

Tuesday June 4 2019

Embu Referral Hospital

Embu County Assembly Health Committee Chairman Muturi Mwombo consoling patients at the Embu Referral Hospital. on June 4, 2019. The hospital is experiencing a huge influx of patients from neighbouring Kirinyaga County where doctors and nurses are on strike. PHOTO | GEORGE MUNENE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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The Embu Referral Hospital has been plunged into a crisis due to high numbers of patients from the neighbouring Kirinyaga County seeking treatment there.

Health workers at the Kerugoya Referral Hospital in Kirinyaga have gone on strike in protest against poor working conditions.

The workers laid down their tools on Wednesday last week and vowed to remain put until Governor Anne Waiguru’s government meets their demands.

Due to the continuous influx at the Embu hospital, patients are forced to share beds and doctors are finding it difficult to cope with the situation.


In some wards, patients are forced to sleep on the floor as there are no enough beds to accommodate all of them.


County Chief Health Officer Grace Mureithi admitted that the situation is serious and called on the Kirinyaga County government to dialogue with its doctors, clinical officers and nurses in order to end the strike.

“We have been overwhelmed by the high numbers of patients from the neighbouring region who are in dire need of healthcare,” she told the Nation in Embu town.

Ms Muriithi noted that the patients are flocking the level five hospital on daily basis because the Kerugoya Hospital and other health facilities in Kirinyaga are not operating due to the strike.


“For instance, in Ward Nine of our hospital, [some] patients are sleeping on the floor and something urgent should be done to resolve the problems facing the Kirinyaga health sector,” said Ms Muriithi.

The hospital’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Daniel Mugendi, admitted that 60 percent of outpatients seeking treatment there are from Kirinyaga County, adding that it is becoming hard to handle all of them.

“Patients from outside are depleting our medical resources,” said Dr Mugendi, adding that the situation is getting worse every day.

Embu County Assembly Health Committee Chairman Muturi Mwombo expressed concerns over the crisis and appealed to the national government to provide the hospital with drugs and other medical supplies.

He explained that the hospital had not budgeted for extra patients and urged the national government to step in fast.


“The national government should assist us to attend to the extra patients coming from Kirinyaga. Our hospital is overcrowded with patients and we do not have enough medical resources for everybody,” said Mr Mwombo who is also the Ruguru-Ngandori Ward MCA.

The Kirinyaga health workers boycotted work accusing Governor Waiguru's government of failing to address their demands.


They vowed to keep away from Kerugoya Hospital and other health facilities in the region until their demands are met.

They complained that the government had failed to reinstate all the 346 casual workers it sacked in April and also failed to pay three doctors who are pursuing master’s degrees their salaries for ten months.

The workers claimed the hospital is still not fully functional as the autoclave machine for sterilizing medical equipment is faulty.

They also said that some of the laboratory test machines had broken down and they have not been repaired.