Congestion in public hospitals in Kisumu County has reached alarming levels with male and female patients sharing wards in some instances.
This, a human rights body says, denies the sick their dignity.
The details are contained in a new report published by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR).
At the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital in Kisumu Town and Kombewa hospital, the commission says it found that pregnant women routinely gave birth on the floor, as beds were full.
At Kombewa, the team found that patients often mixed in the wards regardless of gender or cultural beliefs, something that violated their privacy and discouraged some people from seeking treatment.
The report, a product of research by a consultant, was conducted in March 2017, shortly before doctors ended their 100-day strike.
The data was collected in three out of the region’s seven sub-counties – Kisumu Central, an urban area, and Kisumu Central and Seme (both rural) – to give a comprehensive survey of the state of health in the county.
Some 130 randomly picked respondents took part in the survey.
The staff-patient ratio was very high at 1:60-70 patients, forcing patients to wait for between two and five hours before being seen by a medic.
A nurse at the referral hospital’s maternity unit had delivered 50 babies over one weekend.
Because of this heavy workload, the nurse said she could not attend to all the expectant mothers, resulting in some delivering on the floor all alone.
Releasing the survey findings yesterday in Kisumu, KNCHR commissioner Jedidah Wakonyo said women and men sharing wards was unethical and unacceptable.
“From the findings, it is very clear that we have challenges in our health care management in respect to equipment, infrastructure, distance to health facilities and emergency treatment of the patients,” said the commissioner.