, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 19- The government has finally issued a statement on the controversial deaths of four children at the Thika Level Five hospital, which occurred in August.
Three of the children died on August 5, while the fourth had died earlier in the week.
Through the statement issued by Medical Services Minister Anyang’ Nyong’o in Parliament on Wednesday morning, the government said that the children separately suffered from meningitis, mild anaemia, pneumonia, severe dehydration and difficulties in breathing.
Nyong’o added that the children, aged between 11 days and 13 years, were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition but that their illnesses worsened and any attempts to resuscitate them were futile.
“One of the children aged seven months was first admitted on July 16 with severe dehydration and pneumonia. She was treated and discharged but was later readmitted on July 28 with vomiting and diarrhea,” explained Nyong’o.
“A diagnosis of mild anaemia and meningitis was made and on August 1 she had an episode of convulsions. Her condition got worse and on August 5 she passed on at 6:30 a.m.,” he noted.
Earlier reports on the incident indicated that six children had died at the facility due to lack of oxygen but Nyong’o maintained that they were four and it was not out of doctor’s negligence.
The statement on the deaths had been called for by Juja MP William Kabogo.
After the response, Kabogo argued that the children had been left under the care of a trainee doctor and that there was insufficient oxygen in their ward.
He also raised concerns about the conditions at the facility saying that they were inhumane.
“I would also like him to clarify whether as a minister of Medical Services he is satisfied with the condition that this hospital is in,” charged Kabogo.
“You find very sick children, sometimes three or four, young up to the age of two weeks all piled up in one bed,” he said.
Although Nyong’o admitted that the conditions were sad, he reminded MPs that the situation was the same in most public hospitals.
“Finding three or four children at the Thika Level Five hospital is not a situation in isolation; it happens in many hospitals in this country. This is because over the last 25 years we have not effectively invested in the medical services of this country,” he explained.
He also mentioned that the doctors at the hospital had been cleared of any wrong doing by the Medical Practitioners’ and Dentists’ Board.
Nyong’o also warned parents and any care givers against rushing their children to hospital at the last minute as it put the children’s health at risk.
He further reminded them to ensure that they got free treatment for any children aged below five in public hospitals.
“We therefore urge parents and guardians to take advantage of this provision and present their children for treatment in good time to avoid complications and death because quite often people go to hospitals when it is too late; when only God can help,” he quipped.
Kabogo also asked Nyong’o to table the report on the incident, before the House.
There was also a minor exchange between Nyong’o and Ikolomani MP Boni Khalwale when the latter accused the Minister of poorly paying public medical practitioners.
“If I could pay them from my pocket I would but as you know that is the work of the Treasury,” charged Nyong’o.
Khalwale also accused the government of the unfair distribution of infrastructural resources noting that plans to construct a referral hospital in Nyeri were currently underway.
Nyong’o however refuted the claims telling him that the government had so far refurbished 23 hospitals across the country and would soon embark on refurbishing 25 others.