alexa No more admissions at deplorable Kerugoya hospital - Daily Nation

No more admissions at deplorable Kerugoya hospital

Wednesday May 15 2019

Kerugoya hospital

A section of Kerugoya Referral Hospital, as pictured on May 13, 2019, following reports that it was in a poor state. PHOTO | GEORGE MUNENE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

GEORGE MUNENE
By GEORGE MUNENE
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Kerugoya Referral Hospital will not admit patients now that the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board found it is in too poor a condition to continue offering medical care.

A letter from the board to the hospital's manager, Dr Gideon Mburu, noted that the decision was informed by a report that followed an inspection by health regulators.

According to the report, the consistent blockage of the sewer system, especially at the maternity unit, may have contributed to the unhygienic conditions which forced health workers to raise the alarm.

HOUSEFLIES

During its visit, the team found heaps of dirty linen in wards, the corridors, toilets and bathrooms.

“The linen that was being used by patients at the time of the inspection was worn out and dirty, evidenced by houseflies all over the wards and the compound."

It had not been cleaned as the washing machine had broken down.

Mothers in the new born unit are hard-hit are forced to clean their linen and the frequent shortage of baby formula makes matters worse for them.

NO EQUIPMENT

The regulators also found that services had been hampered by lack of basic equipment such as nebulisation and blood pressure machines, traction weights and reagents for the laboratory.

The hospital had been relying on a private laboratory, where patients were routinely referred.

“The laboratory is not able to perform basic tests such as the hemogram and urinalysis due to obsolete machines and lack of reagents,” stated the report.

The hospital also has inadequate blood supply, a situation that has forced patients' relatives to make donations there.

Some of the patients at the hospital said the services were delayed and poor.

"I arrived at the hospital at around 7am and by 2pm I had not been attended to," said Mr Julius Mureithi.

Cicily Nyaguthii complained that the public toilet had not been washed and that it had houseflies.

STAFF SHORTAGE

The report also noted a serious staff shortage following the sacking of casual labourers.

However, during a press conference on Tuesday, Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru denied reports of an acute shortage of doctors and nurses.

The governor said the county's health sector had 77 doctors and 464 nurses, so the question of understaffing should not arise.

Ms Waiguru was responding to claims of a crisis by the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union. The union also said matters were worsened by the county's sacking of 346 casual labourers.

"We have enough staff for the sector to run smoothly. The shortage being talked about does not exist," Ms Waiguru told the press on Tuesday evening after touring the hospital.

"At Kerugoya hospital alone, which has only 250 beds, we have 162 nurses. Those claiming there is a shortage of health workers are lying," she said.

Governor Waiguru later defended the sacking of the casual workers, saying it would save the county Sh3.5 million.

She warned that her administration will take disciplinary action against staff found culpable of gross neglect of duty.

SENATE'S VISIT

Meanwhile, the Senate Committee on Health said it would visit the hospital on Wednesday for an assessment following revelations of its deplorable state.

Kirinyaga Senator Charles Kibiru said the Committee would tour the hospital and other health facilities in the area.

The committee resolved to visit the facility after Mr Kibiru raised the matter in the Senate and demanded to know what it was doing to rectify the situation.

Speaking to the Nation by phone on Wednesday, Mr Kibiru said he was "touched" when he saw media reports on the state of the hospital.

"I had to raise the matter in the Senate. This prompted the committee plan to visit the hospital," he said.

TASK FORCE

The lawmaker told the House that the health sector had deteriorated to a worrying level and that Kerugoya had become an unhygienic health facility with dirty linen, clogged water systems, unserviceable toilets and blocked drainage systems.

These conditions, he noted, exposed patients to the risk of disease outbreaks.

Mr Kibiru also sought to know reasons for the poor state of the hospital, whose challenges include uncleanliness, lack of patient confidence, low staff morale and dysfunctional departments.

The senator dismissed the task force set up by Governor Waiguru to investigate the problems in the sector, saying it would not achieve anything.

The team, he added, lacked the capacity to correct the situation and restore the public's confidence in the hospital and its staff, who gave notice to withdraw their services due to poor sanitation and a working environment that exposes them to danger.