Patients flocked to public hospitals on Wednesday as doctors resumed work after a 100-day strike that crippled operations in public health facilities.
Operations in most public hospitals in Nakuru, Naivasha, Nyandarua, Laikipia, Samburu and Narok were returning to normal on Wednesday after the strike was called off on Tuesday.
In Nakuru, there was an influx of patients at the paediatric and renal unit of the level five hospital, although most wards remained unoccupied.
In one of the rooms, a 13-month boy who underwent surgery to correct his intestines lay on a bed. He was the first patient to undergo a successful surgery at the facility after the strike.
“He is now able to breathe on his own and is out of danger,” said Ms Racheline Miningwo, a paediatric critical care nurse. Patient Silper Auma said: “We are happy the doctors are back. Last month we made several trips to the hospital but could not access most services. We hope they’ve found a lasting solution.”
At Naivasha Sub-County Hospital, the Nation team found patients queuing at the outpatient department. The number of patients had tripled, according to the medical superintendent in charge of the facility, Dr Joseph Mburu. “We used to attend to around 200 patients daily but today the number is nearly 800,” he said.
“All normal services have resumed and we are coping well with the workload,” added Dr Mburu.
A similar situation was witnessed at Nyahururu County Referral Hospital in Laikipia County and at the JM Memorial Hospital in Ol Kalou, Nyandarua County. Most doctors were back at work and services had resumed.
At the Coast General Provincial Hospital, Mombasa, a one-year-old baby died even as doctors resumed work on Wednesday. Twenty-five doctors out of 180 had returned to work by midday, to be met by desperation and suffering. Ms Sharon Achieng lost her one-year-old child at the hospital’s emergency wing as nurses tried to save her life.
Baby Precious Victorine died as doctors were trooping back to work. “She was very sick. I took her to a private hospital and she was treated. But she contracted fever on Tuesday night. Doctors at the private hospital wanted to admit her but at a cost of Sh40,000. I couldn’t afford it,” said Ms Achieng at the emergency bay. Doctors at the private hospital said the baby had a blood bacterial infection.
At the busy emergency wing, three doctors and five nurses were attending to more than 20 patients.
Chief administrator Iqbal Khandwalla said they were registering all doctors who had resumed work.
“Maternity, casualty and other departments are now operating optimally. Doctors from all cadres, including consultants, are now working,” he said.
Acting executive in charge of health Binti Omar said 70 per cent of doctors from Tudor and Port Reitz district hospitals had reported back to work.
Report by Magdalene Wanja, Reitz Mureithi, Steve Njuguna, Macharia Mwangi, Winnie Atieno and Godfrey Oundoh.