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Hospitals deserted despite ultimatum to doctors

Empty beds at the Pumwani hospital/MUTHONI NJUKI

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 14 – The usually busy and crowded public maternity hospital in Nairobi that serves majority of the lower and middle class population remains deserted as the doctors’ strike continues to bite three months down the line.

Despite the government’s order that doctors resume work last week, Pumwani Maternity Hospital was extremely quiet with minimal activity with only a handful of workers when Capital FM News visited the facility.

All the wards and beds were empty.

The few nurses on duty were idling around with the hope that doctors would soon return to work.

A security officer who opted for anonymity said the place has been without activity for three months.

“Only on rare cases when some mothers come and the babies are popping out when the midwives assist them, others don’t show up and even if they show up we tell them to leave because there are no doctors,” the officer explained.

Prior to the doctors’ strike, Pumwani Maternity Hospital used to deliver about 60 to 100 babies every day.

Soon as the doctors announced their strike in December last year, mothers were stranded as the reality of public hospitals without doctors began to sink.

READ: Nowhere to go for pregnant women as strike cripples Pumwani

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The country’s main and biggest referral hospital, Kenyatta National Hospital was equally deserted.

At Mbagathi Hospital, there were some doctors who had showed up due to the government’s threat but they were not working.

Last week, Capital FM News visited St Mary’s Hospital, one of the faith-based health centres bearing the heavy burden of a distressed health system.

The hospital said it was overwhelmed by the high numbers of patients turning up for treatment due to lack of services at public hospitals.

It also regretted that the number of deaths had tripled during the doctors’ strike.

READ: St Mary’s Hospital pushed to the extreme by doctors’ strike

St Mary’s Hospital was on Tuesday still overwhelmed by the high number of patients from different parts of the country.

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