Take mothers to Pumwani Maternity Hospital at your own risk.
This is the message nurses are giving the public over the facility that they term “unsafe” and a “slaughter house.”
Kenya National Union of Nurses general-secretary Seth Panyako advised mothers to go to Kenyatta National Hospital instead until the Nairobi county government addressed the health workers concerns in the maternity referral hospital.
He said: “In one week, the hospital has lost two mothers because those who are managing the hospital are not qualified nurses. The real nurses, about 186, are on a go-slow to demand better security in their work place. Do not go there.”
However, Nairobi Health chief officer Dr Robert Ayitsi refuted these remarks, stating the maternity hospital is safe.
He told Nation by phone: “Mothers are delivering in the hospital. There are two security guards every morning and evening. And there are nurses working. For those not there, we will take disciplinary action against them as individuals not as the mob.”
For months now, services at the hospital have been paralysed over demand for improved security by health workers following claims of intimidation and attack on health workers over suspicions of baby theft.
But the suspicions were made worse after an incident on January 5, where Dedan Kimathi took his wife, Jacinta Wanjiku, to deliver at the facility.
The next day they were told that their twin babies had died.
Ms Wanjiku insisted she heard her babies cry, but the hospital said the babies were a still birth, having died about 12 hours before birth.
DNA test conducted between January 27 and February 4 on the two bodies by the Government Chemist in Nairobi said the babies were not biologically related to Mr Kimathi or his wife, and worse, that the babies were not twins.
The Senate Health Committee, Directorate of Criminal Investigations, and police are investigating the matter.
Mr Panyako asked the government to put up a police station within the hospital similar to the one at Kenyatta National Hospital.
Also in their list of demands is an increase of nurses and redeployment of the current health workers in a bid to restore the lost public confidence in the hospital.
At the same time, the nurses union has termed unconstitutional, the move by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) to freeze salary reviews for at least two years until a job evaluation is concluded.
Last week, SRC told the National Assembly’s Finance Committee that salary increase would only be considered after a public service job evaluation is completed.
Saying the audit would help to gauge the acceptable remuneration for public workers, SRC chairperson Sarah Serem said it would also render collective bargaining unnecessary.
Mr Panyako said SRC has got no mandate to review salaries of public servants such as health workers which is a role under the Public Service Commission adding that “the actions by SRC are null and void” and contravenes Article 41 of the Constitution.