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Debt, insufficient beds cause patients suffering

Sunday September 16 2018

Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching

A patient sleeps on a corridor at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital in Kisumu on September 16, 2018. PHOTO | ONDARI OGEGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital is in the spotlight for forcing patients to sleep on the floor due to lack of enough beds.

The hospital's sorry state went viral after a member of the public published photos of some patients sleeping on the corridors.

A spot check by the Nation team also indicated that some were being detained for not clearing their bills.

Mr Julius Akumu, one of the patients who was sleeping on the floor, said he has been blocked from leaving because of unpaid bill.

"We have been placed on the corridors because there are few beds and newly admitted patients are given the first priority," Mr Akumu, who was treated for penal infection, said.



Chief executive officer Peter Okoth admitted that the facility is grappling with lack of adequate beds.

For example, he said, the male ward 2 has 40 beds but by Sunday morning they admitted 59 patients.

"We have high demand for surgical services with many requiring them because of injuries and non-communicable diseases. We had excess of over 19 patients but the ones who were on the floor were those on discharge," Dr Okoth said.

During daytime, they are made to sleep on the balcony and at night they are placed on the corridors where they lie on smaller mattresses.

A few meters from Mr Akumu is 41-year-old George Odhiambo who underwent a stomach operation on Wednesday.


Mr Odhiambo said he has to persevere because of his outstanding bill that stood at Sh11,396 as at September 13.

"I am supposed to be on complete bed rest. But the frequent movement from one place to another is really affecting me," he said, urging the county government to intervene and help them.

He said initially they were about 10 but six managed to clear their debts.

But Dr Okoth denied the claim that they were detaining patients for not clearing their bills.

"The two patients who were on the floor have a cumulative bill of Sh66,000 which the hospital has actually waived, but have been abandoned by their families," he said.

He added: "We cannot release them without their relatives coming for them. We have to take care of them until they are claimed and at the same time we do not want them to share beds."