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Patients suffer as nurses’ strike enters day two

Tuesday February 5 2019

nurses strike

A patient lies unattended at the Kisumu Sub-County Hospital on February 4, 2019. PHOTO | ONDARI OGEGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Patients in various public hospitals in Kisumu and Kisii counties continued to suffer as nurses’ strike entered its second day on Tuesday.

Public hospitals in Kisumu were deserted after nurses vowed to press on with their boycott until their demands are met.

At the Kisumu Sub-County Hospital, doctors discharged patients due to lack of nurses to attend to them.

Mzee William Nyayaka, who was admitted to the facility on Friday, was told to wait till Monday for an X-ray which never was.


“I'm sad and disappointed, I have no money to take my father to a private hospital,” said Mr Nyakaka’s son Mr Maurice Otieno.


Ms Alice Abonyo said: “My sister Gertrude Ayoo, who has been in hospital since November, was booked for an operation next week. I came today (Tuesday) only to be told she has been discharged.”

William Nyayaka is picked by his son Maurice
William Nyayaka is picked by his son Maurice Otieno from Kisumu Sub-County Hospital after doctors discharged patients following the ongoing nurses' strike. PHOTO | CAROLINE MUNDU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

But the Kenya National Union of Nurses Kisumu branch chairman Maurice Opetu said that the strike would continue since they had not received service and uniform allowances.  

“We have been patiently waiting for our dues since November 2017,” said Mr Opetu who faulted Cabinet Secretary for Labour Ukur Yatani for taking too long to call for dialogue.

In Kisii, patients at Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital could not hide their pain.

Doctors were on Tuesday spotted trying to attend to hundreds of patients at the facility.  


"We are suffering as we have not been attended to since morning. I was admitted here last week after being diagnosed with diabetes. I have not been given any drugs since Sunday,” said Mr Nyakundi Nyang'au who now hopes to go to a private hospital.

“I’m disappointed, I thought my father would receive better services here,” said Ms Agnes Nyakundi, the patient’s daughter.

A deserted female ward at the Kisumu Sub-County
A deserted female ward at the Kisumu Sub-County Hospital after patients were discharged due to the ongoing nurses' strike. PHOTO | CAROLINE MUNDU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The facility failed to admit more patients. Those who had gone for treatment at the hospital opted to seek medical services from dispensaries in town, while those who were due for discharge were forced to stay at the hospital as nurses took to the streets.


“I was to be discharged today (Tuesday) but there is nobody to clear me,” said Mr Abira.

Patients with low income could not be transferred to private hospitals in the region due to financial constraints.

They now want the Kisii County government to speed up negotiations with the nurses and agree on the return to work formula that was signed on November 2, 2017.

In West Pokot County, health facilities remained deserted as patients left for home and private hospitals.

The deserted newborn unit at Moi County
The deserted newborn unit at Moi County Referral Hospital in Voi on February 5, 2019. PHOTO | LUCY MKANYIKA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

At Kapenguria County Hospital, the maternity and paediatric wards were deserted.

Expectant mothers resorted to deliver at home with the help of traditional birth attendants, while patients in remote areas turned to traditional herbs.


Most patients said they had not received treatment. Ms Ziporrah Nelima, who urgently needed a blood transfusion, was discharged from Kapenguria Hospital.

“I normally come here for treatment but I can’t be admitted. I have only been given painkillers, I am vomiting and I can’t eat anything,” said Ms Nelima.

Mr Francis Lokotor, who was admitted at Kapenguria Hospital two weeks ago, had to be transferred to Ortum Mission Hospital.

Patients in Ward 5 at Kisii Teaching and
Patients in Ward 5 at Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital. Nurses have kept off the facility as their strike entered the second day Tuesday. PHOTO | BENSON AYIENDA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Mr Silas Wafula, who was involved in a boda boda accident on Friday, said he had been suffering here without help.”  

In Taita Taveta County, most of the wards were locked as patients at the Moi County Referral Hospital had been discharged.  

The maternity ward and the newborn units were also deserted as expectant mothers were turned away.  


The hospital’s Medical Superintendent Dr Gitau Kagona said they discharged all the patients due to lack of nurses to attend to them.

“We are trying to offer services at the outpatient department. The doctors’ clinic, radiology, laboratory and casualty departments are still running,” he said. He said the theatre had also been affected by the strike.

Dr Kagona said patients in critical conditions were being referred to private facilities for admission.

“They should not shy away from seeking services here. We are giving our level best to ensure that we give the best services,” he said.

-Reports by Caroline Mundu, Benson Ayienda, Oscar Kakai and Lucy Mkanyika,