Kyuso Level Four Hospital in Mwingi North, Kitui County has been closed indefinitely over security threats to its staff.
Dr Daniel Misiani, the medical superintendent, directed all staff to stay away until further communication.
“Owing to concerns associated with impending unrest and insecurity at the hospital, the County Ministry of Health has decided to close the facility indefinitely pending investigations by law enforcement agencies,” Dr Misiani said in a letter dated September 3 to the workers.
Dr Misiani said the threats were posed by unknown persons to the hospital workers.
Three days earlier, leaflets had been circulated warning non-local casual workers to vacate the hospital.
Kitui County Chief Officer for Health Dr Richard Muthoka said the drastic decision was taken as a precautionary measure.
“Other than the leaflets that surfaced over the weekend, there was a demo last week organised by some leaders who were protesting the posting of health staff from other sub-counties,” Dr Muthoka said, adding “we could not take chances with staff safety and felt it is better to act before something bad happens.”
He said hospital workers were cooperating with police in the investigations.
However, the Kyuso Deputy County Commissioner Chaunga Mwachaunga faulted the decision to shut down the hospital saying police could have been deployed instead.
“So far, we do not have any formal complaint or a single attack reported to the police by any hospital staff about insecurity. The matter is under investigation but there was no need to close the hospital before exhausting the available security mechanisms,” he said.
Mr Mwachaunga said the hospital administration needed only to alert the Kyuso district security committee and police officers would have been deployed rather than succumbing to fear.
The hospital has terminated contracts for all subordinate staff effective September 3.