The National Government has ordered Kerugoya Referral Hospital in Kirinyaga County to stop admitting patients with immediate effect following an inspection by joint regulatory bodies that revealed an even more direr situation besides what has been reported in the media.
“The Laboratory is not able to perform basic tests such as full haemogram and urinalysis due to obsolete machines and lack/inadequacy of necessary reagents. Random blood sugar stripes were reported out of stock every so often,” reads the report.
“Due to lack of support staff at the facility, new mothers at the new born unit are forced to carry out cleaning services,” it adds.
The joint report addressed to Kerugoya County Referral Hospital Manager Dr. Gideon Mburu is dated May 13, 2019.
According to Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU) chief executive Daniel Yumbya, there are also grave concerns over the lack of basic equipment such as weighing scales, BP machines and pulse oximeters; most of those available are malfunctioning.
Further, the hospital staff are said to have been using plain papers to write drug prescriptions, treatment sheets and nursing cardex.
The theatre roof is reported to have been leaking for close to one year and the staff admitted to have been covering machines with polythene bags to prevent damage.
The facility was found not to have and Accident and Emergency Department and only one functioning patient monitor in the theatre recovery room. The report further indicated that there were constant blockages of the sewer system especially in the maternity unit.
The decision by Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru to sack over 300 casual workers has seen the plight of the hospital hit headlines for the past one week.
The county boss however insists that politicians are scheming to sabotage health operations in Kirinyaga.
“There was sabotage and we are investigating further to know which politician is behind this fiasco. We shall wait for investigations to be completed but in the meantime the situation is much better now at Kerugoya Hospital,” Waiguru said on Tuesday.
This even as it emerged that the county chose to retain 12 casual labourers as security guards who also doubled up as patient attendants.
The joint investigating team also established poor waste management at the facility with majority toilet flush systems out of order. Blood stained walls and floors were predominantly seen in the wards.
“There was a total lack of standard operating procedures on waste disposals with a nurse reported to have contracted Hepatitis B presumably from the unhygienic conditions.
Leaking roofs, dirty sinks, faulty beds and equipment, worn out dirty linen used by the patients evidenced by houseflies all over the wards and the hospital compound were recorded in the report.
“Most in-patients were laying on mackintosh as a result of the lack of clean linen in the hospital. No interim measures of linen management had been put in place and no staff had been assigned the role,” the report adds.
The reports also pointed out lack of leadership with an absentee and uncooperative medical superintendent/hospital manager. In the report, Dr. Gideon Mburu is accused of lying to the team about being away only to show up at the facility at 5pm drunk.
“The hospital administrator Mr. Seasor Arthur Kamau only appeared late in the afternoon during interviews and appeared out of touch with reality on the ground,” it adds.
On Tuesday, the Kenya Union of Civil Servants (KNCS) in the County threatened to down their tools after their workers were directed to clean the hospital mess. What was meant to be a reduction in Kirinyaga’s ballooning wage bill, appeared to have opened a can of worms in the county’s health sector.
Doctors and clinical officers from Kirinyaga County had earlier joined nurses in demanding the reinstatement of the sacked workers. Of utmost worry to the health workers union, however, is how well the county government has planned to improve healthcare.
“The hospital is understaffed, they workers are overworked, there are no promotions or trainings. Kirinyaga County fails to understand that the people require specialised treatment,” Dr. Goody Gor, the KMPDU Secretary for Central region branch said in a previous interview.
And according to the Kirinyaga KNUN Secretary Regina Karigi, one nurse is expected to serve up to 50 patients which is against the required ratio–1 nurse for 15 patients. The biggest fear remains whether or not the withdrawal of casual workers and the closure of the hospital will deny Kirinyaga residents quality healthcare.
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