Crisis at church-run hospitals as nurses strike continues

Church-run hospitals are struggling to cope with the big number of patients that have flooded the facilities, a Catholic sister has said.

The influx of patients – both outpatient and inpatient – has been occasioned by the ongoing nurses’ strike. The healthcare givers downed their tools over pay a stalemate with the Government.

Kiirua Mission Hospital in Buuri sub-county is one of the affected facilities, according to Sister Agnes Nkatha, the hospital’s administrator.

“We are handling a lot of emergency situations and have had to recall all employees on leave,” said Sister Nkatha.

She said they had been forced to increase the number of staff, and also recalled those on leave.

“All our departments are overwhelmed and the stores are also running out of commodities. We really hope the issue in Government hospitals is resolved so that normalcy is restored,” she said.

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The nurses’ strike has crippled operations in public facilities, including the Meru Referral and Teaching Hospital (MRTH) in Meru town.

Additional beds

“We are seeing about 300 out-patient cases daily. We have been forced to bring 110 additional beds to meet the demand,” she added.

Cottolengo Mission Hospital administrator Brother Giancarlo Chiesa said patients evacuated from MRTH posed a challenge.

“We are in trouble because we are overwhelmed. We have run out of beds and so many patients have been forced to share,” said Br Chiesa.

Chiesa said the Catholic-ran hospital had a 120-bed capacity.

Sharing beds

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“But now we have 260 in-patients so they have to share. We had more than 10 newborn babies from MRTH, so we are in an extremely bad situation,” said Chiesa.

He said due to the fact that the hospital is the cheapest in the county, it is usually overstretched as many prefer it to private and public hospital.

“We had more than 60 patients from MRTH alone, and others from others affected by the health workers’ strike,” Chiesa said. [Phares Mutembei]

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