Following the withdrawal of health workers including doctors from the troubled Kerugoya referral hospital and its subsequent closure, patients from the area have been forced to seek medical care elsewhere.
The patients have turned to private health facilities within the area and the neighboring Embu, Murang’a and Nyeri Counties since all health care run by the county government have been affected by the closure.
But in a swift move to alleviate the sufferings of patients, the national government has posted two more Cuban Doctors to the hospital to beef up the other two who are the only medics left working after the withdrawal on Friday.
A letter sent to Governor Anne Waiguru by the Principal Secretary in the Health Department Susan Mochache asks the governor to provide the new additional doctors with fully furnished houses.
“You are also required to make sure these doctors are provided with security and transport to and from the areas they are expected to attend those seeking for health services,” Mochache said in her brief letter dated May 17.
The letter whose copy the media has seen further reads, “following the Human Resource gaps identified by the inspection team at the Kerugoya county referral hospital, the ministry of health has found it necessary to support the facility with two specialized doctors from Cuba,”
The medics are a family physician and a general surgeon, according to Mochache’s letter while the family physician will be required to do outreach to the community as per the agreement, the letter adds.
But even as the government moves in that direction, the four doctors might not achieve much since the hospital has no Nurses, Clinical Officers nor Laboratory technologists.
Medics at the facility numbering about 25 and who are members of the Medical Practitioners and Dentist Board were also withdrawn by their Unit on Friday leaving the hospital operations completely grounded.
Relatives who had their kin admitted at the hospital have since transferred them to private medical care facilities in and out of the county.
Waiguru could not be reached for comments after the hospital was plunged into a deep managerial and human resource crisis following the withdrawal.
The medics are also set to issue a seven day strike notice today demanding answers to their unprocessed and overdue promotions and implementation of their Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA).
The genesis of the crisis goes back three weeks ago when Waiguru’s government sacked 346 casual workers in a bid to reduce the bludgeoning wage-bill. The workers gobble Sh 3.5 million monthly in pay.
Senate Standing Committee on Health led by its Chairman Dr Michael Mbito has since visited the hospital.
By Irungu Mwangi