KISUMU, Kenya, Dec 21 – Patients in public hospitals in Kisumu were left stranded as medical workers under the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU) joined clinical staff in a nationwide strike on Monday.
Patients who were unable to secure transfers to private hospitals were left with no option but to return home amid pain and anguish.
At the Kisumu County Hospital, formerly Kisumu District Hospital, infants in the incubators were discharged.
Imelda Akinyi, a mother, said her newborn baby had been in the incubator with no one attending to her.
Akinyi feared for the life of her infant as doctors commenced their strike after the government failed to address their grievances.
She said she had nowhere to take her newborn baby who came out before the due date and pleaded with the medics to resume work.
In the same facility, Myrose Otieno, who is pregnant and due to give birth was wondering what will happen when her turn comes.
Otieno said she cannot afford delivering in a private hospital due to inadequate finances.
It was the same scenario at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital where, Henry Ouma, a patient who had undergone surgery to remove his urinary bladder on Saturday was wheeled out of the ward due to the strike.
“It’s very sad because I could not afford the private hospital, that is why I came here. I don’t know what will happen to me should I be in any danger,” Ouma said.
A spot check in various public hospitals within the county revealed a sorry state with empty wards, waiting bays and consultation rooms.
Dr Francis Oyugi, the medical superintendent at Kisumu County Hospital said they had to ground all services and send away patients who were in the wards.
Oyugi said the only services available were those offered by the HIV clinic and psychiatry ward.
“The services have been grounded for the last two weeks as a result of nurses and clinicians strike,” he said, “The laboratory is not working, the X-Ray section is deserted. Only the HIV unit is working and the psychiatric section.”
Bernard Owino who is in charge of Ahero sub-county hospital also said the maternity wing and theater were closed as a result of the biting strike.
Owino noted that the facility which always accommodates between 100 – 200 outpatients per day with more than 10 deliveries was closed.
“Ahero covers a large area especially in the maternity department but due to the strike, the pregnant mothers have been forced to deliver in their homes which is kind of risky,” he said.