Grief engulfed Moi County Referral Hospital in Voi sub-county Wednesday as the family of mother who died during child birth at the facility picked their kin’s body for burial.
The deceased, Ms. Fatuma Murambe, 30, and a mother of four from Buguta village in Voi constituency was referred to Moi hospital on Sunday night for emergency operation from Buguta dispensary.
The doctors at the hospital however could not operate on her due to a power failure that had brought theater operations to a halt.
Speaking to KNA on Thursday, Mercy Dishani, a sister-in-law of the deceased said they arrived at Moi referral hospital at 11pm. The medics had received the expectant woman and promptly kicked out the family members out without any explanation.
She said instead of admitting the patient, the medics should have sent them to Wesu sub-county in Wundanyi hospitals where caesarian operations were being done.
“What was the need of admitting an expectant mother who needed emergency operations yet Moi County Referral Hospital could not do it?,” posed the distraught relative.
They would later be called by a medic, only to be informed about the death of their relative and her baby. “We are still devastated that medics admitted her yet they were not intending to operate her,” she said.
The incident triggered widespread condemnation and outrage by residents of the region. Angry women leaders led by Taita-Taveta Women MP Lydia Haika stormed the facility, demanding for explanation from the hospital management and other health officers.
Speaking after an impromptu tour of the biggest health facility in Taita-Taveta County, Haika decried the poor conditions in the facility and said recently over four women had lost lives, while delivering at the facility.
She wondered why essential services like power which was used in theaters, newborn units and renal units could be suspended without an alternative.
“How can a hospital go without power for over three days yet very vital departments like renal and new born units rely on power for their survival?” she asked. She further said the facility needed to assure expectant mothers that their lives were secure.
Officials of Sauti Ya Wanawake organization also condemned negligence in medical facilities across the county, while demanding for explanation on what health budgets were used for. They also complained that all activities of the hospital including fueling of ambulances were being done in Wundanyi town, over 40 kilometers away.
One of the NGO officials from Voi Makrina Mwamburi said it was heart-breaking for mothers who come to deliver to die with their babies, adding that officials in health department needed to come clean on what was ailing the sector.
“The county is allocating money to health docket yet nothing is happening. We need answers as soon as possible to avert more deaths,” she said.
Mwamburi further said the recently-launched political campaign encouraging women in the region to give birth and increase their numbers was doomed to fail if mothers and their babies will continue dying at the maternity.
County Executive Committee Member for Health Dr. Frank Mwangemi expressed regretted the incident but said he was only aware of a single death at the maternity this month.
However, sources say there was another woman who died at the maternity earlier this month.
Mwangemi said there was a power surge that led to blowing up of a line that affected both the power supply and the automatic kick-in for standby emergency generator.
“We called Kenya power people to come but they said they would come in the morning. We did everything possible to bring back the power but it was all in vain,” he said.
The county executive said the facility had a sharp influx of patients, in the recent past, from 45 per cent to over 95 per cent.
Meanwhile, the hospital will set up customer care desk to address all issues raised by the public. “We will soon address all your concerns with data and figures,” said Mwangemi.
By Dominic Maraga