City Hall has admitted that laxity and inefficiencies in operations at Mbagathi Hospital led a mother, Immaculate Auma, to trek with her dead baby all the way to City Mortuary.
The admission came on Monday after public outcry following reports in the dailies that Ms Auma was forced to walk from Mbagathi to the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) police post and later to the mortuary after the infant allegedly passed away at the facility.
Charles Kerich, Nairobi's acting health minister, said that the hospital's lack of a utility vehicle, the presence of security guards who were not vigilant and poor information flow forced the woman to walk.
Mr Kerich said his statement was based on an incident report by the nurse and the clinical officer who handled the baby.
The report, he said, identified the gaps in service delivery at the facility and was reviewed by the hospital’s management team.
“They have an inefficient customer care desk, non-vigilant security at the gate and a not-so-comprehensive death notification form, and they lack a utility vehicle,” he said during a meeting at the hospital on Monday.
DEAD ON ARRIVAL
However, Mr Kerich denied reports that the infant was admitted at the hospital and later died there.
He said Ms Auma arrived at Mbagathi at about 9.45am last Wednesday and that the baby was pronounced dead on arrival by a paediatric clinical officer.
“For the record, Immaculate and her baby were never admitted at Mbagathi and her baby did not die here. In cases where a person is dead on arrival, the hospital does not admit but instead requires the kin to file a notification with the police,” he said.
He explained that in line with the hospital’s policy, she was referred to police to file a notification.
Despite the lack of the utility vehicle, Mr Kerich said, the hospital was ready to facilitate Ms Auma's transport but she left before the arrangements materialised.
“A nurse at the hospital offered to assist Immaculate to organise for transportation to the police station and onward to the mortuary. However, while the hospital was organising for a vehicle, the mother was discovered to have left with the body of her child."
The acting health executive said that following the incident, several measures will be implemented at the facility to help bridge the gaps in operations and improve patient care.
Key among them are the keeping of dead bodies at Mbagathi's mortuary after relatives inform police and modifying the death notification form for triplicate copies – for relatives, the mortuary and the outpatient department (OPD) file.
The hospital will also liaise with KNH police in cases where the bodies of people who did not die at Mbagathi are taken to its facility.
In addition, Mbagathi will ensure that burial permit issuance is coordinated by City Mortuary as it gives advice on the need for post-mortems.
Mr Kerich further said that security officers at the facility will be educated on the need for effective customer care through a properly functioning desk.
He said a memo will be issued, informing OPD staff of the new measures to keep relatives from ferrying the bodies of their relatives.
The acting health boss also said a meeting with hospital management will see to it that they teach staff how to offer top quality services.
“We believe these measures will go a long way in improving service delivery at the hospital,” he said.