A Class Eight pupil in a Kisii school is among eight women forced into a congested ward at Christa Marriane Hospital because they have nowhere else to go.
Speaking to the Sunday Nation, the pupil, who is scheduled to sit the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education examination, burst into tears as she narrated how she was forced out of the maternity ward with her one-week-old daughter and into the detention ward.
“They told me they were letting me go, which was good news for, me only to realise that they were bringing us to this room,” the distraught girl said.
In the wards, they are forced to sleep on three thin mattresses joined together, which she shares with the rest of the mothers and their infants.
She said in most cases they end up not sleeping because they all cannot fit on the tiny mattresses with their babies.
“We are not even allowed to get out of this room. We ask for permission to go to the toilet as we do in school and come back,” she said.
The hospital administrator Beatrice Sabato said they were compelled to take patients there because of congestion in the wards.
“All our hospital beds are occupied and we are planning to release them,” she said. “We are trying our best to deal with this.”
The hospital in Kisii County has become the most available rescue centre for many after nurses in public hospitals went on strike three months ago.
Patients from Kilgoris in Narok County, Nyamira, Migori and Kisii are thronging the private facility, forcing the hospitals to put beds even on corridors in the wards.
A spot check revealed that the facility is overstretched, especially in the maternity wing, forcing mothers to share beds.
It emerged that the situation is so bad that some patients who have not paid medical bills were detained in the hospital’s boardroom.
Mr Kelvin Ochieng’, whose wife had given birth, said you have to follow doctors and request them to attend to your patient because they are overwhelmed.
“They provide quality services but the number of patients here is so high that you have to be very close to the doctors so that they listen to you,” he said.
Mr Ochieng’ urged the nurses who are on strike to agree with the Council of Governors for the benefit of Kenyans.
A similar call was made by Ms Shelvin Sabina who went to see a patient at the facility.
She said there was a need for the government to end the stalemate.
“Patients are not even allowed to heal well before they are discharged. Those at the maternity wards stay for three days and they are asked to leave,” Ms Sabina said.
Patients also expressed concern about the little time they are given to heal.
For instance, the pupil said she was still experiencing lower abdominal pain after delivering through Caesarian section. The rest of the mothers in the detention room also expressed similar sentiments.
In the same room is yet another Form Two girl who has been there for close to two weeks.
She painfully explained how they were forced to share a meal whenever any one of them received a visitor because the hospital feeds them only once a day.
“We have to share the little we get each day. We just have to bear with the situation as we wait for our relatives and friends to foot the bill,” she said, adding that it would be unfair to eat alone as the rest watch.
According to her, there is always a watchman standing by the door of the room and never allows them to take their children outside.
“With this cold and rainy weather in Kisii, we do not understand how they could be so inhuman and prevent us from taking our children out in the sun, especially when most of us don’t have warm enough clothes for them,” she said.
Ms Christine Omondi, 23, who has been detained at the medical facility for a month, termed some health workers heartless.
She said that despite some of them being in severe pain, the health workers ignored their requests for checkup or change of dressing.
Kimemia says nurses deserve better leadership and not arbitrary sackings.