Report: Children, adults share beds at a Gatundu hospital

Friday July 12 2019

Igegania Level Four Hospital

Deputy President William Ruto opens a new block at Igegania Level Four Hospital in Gatundu North in 2014. A report by the Kiambu County Assembly Health Committee has exposed the rot at the hospital, with children admitted there having to share beds with adults in the female ward. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

ERIC WAINAINA
By ERIC WAINAINA
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Children admitted to the Igegania Level Four Hospital in Gatundu North are forced to share beds with adults in the female ward which is grappling with congestion.

This is because the hospital has no paediatric ward.

The current situation is exposing children to risks of getting infections.

DEEP ROT

This is according to a damning report compiled by the Kiambu County Assembly’s Health Committee and which has exposed the deep rot in the hospital which is under the management of Governor Ferdinand Waititu’s administration.

The report, which was tabled in the House by the newly elected Majority Leader Gideon Gachara, and who has been a member of the committee, says the hospital has inadequate facilities in all units, is understaffed, with one nurse handling 30 patients and the infrastructure is in deplorable condition.

IMPROMPTU VISIT

According to the committee chaired by the Nyathuna MCA Edward Kinyanjui, after an impromptu visit, they found sick children were sharing beds with their parents in the female wards which do not even have curtains for privacy or shelves to place utensils and other personal items.

Further, the committee established that the maternity wing, which handles 120 normal deliveries and between 20 to 30 caesarean sections per month, only has 12 beds and is “grossly understaffed”, thus new mothers and their babies do not get optimal care.

It also does not have a baby nursery and there is only one incubator which the team said is used to transfer babies who develop complications after birth.

HORRIBLE STATE

The ablution block in the female ward, just like the congested casualty unit, is in horrible state since it is poorly maintained and has major plumbing issues.

Shockingly, according to the report, the maternity wing only has one toilet which is used by the expectant mothers and those who have already delivered, a thing which the members observed poses a great risk of spreading infections.

Further, the laundry department, which handles bloodstained linen and bedding for all inpatients, does not have a washing machines or tumble driers, forcing the workers to wash clothes manually and hang them in the sun to dry, which is a hazard to them.

The laboratory, which is key in conducting tests to facilitate precise treatment, is also understaffed.

It has only four staff expected to work for 24 hours, does not have a biochemistry machine and an operator, such that it can only conduct routine tests only.

NO FRIDGE

The laboratory also does not have a fridge for storing blood, forcing the hospital to store it together with laboratory reagents.

Further, just like is the case in other public hospitals in the county, Igegania does not have even basic drugs, including painkillers.

The hospital’s pharmacist, Dr James Githinji, told the committee that they are in dire need of drugs for hypertension and diabetes since the hospital has 3, 000 active diabetic cases.

The hospital also needs painkillers, antibiotics and non-pharmaceuticals such as gloves, diabetic dress as well as drugs to treat non-communicable diseases.

DRUGS DEBT

“The procurement officer (at the hospital) reported that the existing Kemsa debt partially contributed to low supply of drugs and therefore they had to procure drugs and non-pharmaceuticals on loans. They currently have a loan of Sh6 million,” reads the report.

The hospital does not have an operational incinerator for waste treatment, forcing the management to turn an abandoned house as their dumpsite where toxic waste is piled and then collected after every two weeks by the environment department.

WORKERS AT RISK

“This is a major concern as this posed a major health risk to workers in the hospital,” said the report.

The committee concluded that Igegania Hospital does not deserve the level four title as it is still operating like a level three one.

The hospital does not have a utility vehicle and its ambulance is grounded.

The committee recommended that the challenges which have compromised the quality of services at the hospital be urgently fixed, even as the House resolved to summon the County Health Executive Mary Kamau after it emerged that all hospitals in the county are in sorry state.