Residents decry poor state of hospitals in Murang'a, demand change

One patient says he arrived at a facility at 9 am only to leave at 9 pm due to delays

In Summary
  • On Tuesday, disgruntled patients recorded a video registering their discontent with the poor services they had received at the County referral hospital in Murang’a town.
  • Senator Joe Nyutu now wants the county government to streamline health services that he says are dampening Governor Irungu Kang'ata's development record.
Murang'a County referral hospital.
Murang'a County referral hospital.
Image: Alice Waithera

Murang’a county government has been challenged to streamline the health sector following an uproar from members of the public.

On Tuesday, disgruntled patients recorded a video registering their discontent with the poor services they had received at the county referral hospital in Murang’a town.

The residents complained that they had been spending days at the facility seeking services and would leave late at night frustrated.

“At times, you are referred to a doctor who is not in and you spend the entire day waiting for them,” said Jimmy Irungu, a patient who said he had arrived at the facility at 9 am only to leave at 9 pm.

However, in an interview on a vernacular radio station, Kang'ata apologised for the poor services that locals have experienced saying his administration will do everything possible to ensure their complaints are addressed.

Kang'ata said the national government has been delaying the disbursement of funds, disrupting operations in county governments.

"We have decided that from this month, all revenue collected from hospitals will be ploughed back into the facilities to enhance their efficacy," he said.

They said X-ray machines were not functional they were sent to another facility for the services and that the hospital’s pharmacy does not have crucial drugs.

The video elicited strong emotions from members of the public who took to social media to challenge the county government to offer better services.

In May last year, there was a similar outcry following the death of a prominent lawyer who passed away while undergoing treatment at the referral hospital.

A month later, Senator Joe Nyutu led a team of senators on an inspection tour of local health facilities and asked the county to streamline services.

The senator has yet again challenged Governor Irungu Kang’ata to prioritise the health sector to relieve many patients who he said have been suffering due to inefficiencies.

Murang'a senator Joe Nyutu addressing journalits in Maragua, Murang'a.
Murang'a senator Joe Nyutu addressing journalits in Maragua, Murang'a.
Image: Alice Waithera

While lauding the governor for the strides made in the sector including establishing new health facilities, the senator underscored the need for the county to ensure health workers turn up in their workstations, especially in the rural areas.

Some medics, he noted, have not been going to work during their shifts especially at night and during weekends, forcing patients to be attended by trainees.

“We appreciate the work the governor has been doing. He has established new facilities, especially the new level five hospital at Makenji," Nyutu said.

“The main challenge facing the county government has been the outcry over health services. This is why I had brought the senate committee on health to check on the issues that were being reported in Murang’a, Maragua and Muranjas hospitals”.

Lack of drugs, he said, is another major challenge that hospitals have been grappling with, asking the governor to ensure sufficient medicines are procured.

Nyutu praised the county for digitising health systems that have drastically increased revenue collection but noted that the systems sometimes fail, inconveniencing both patients and medics.

The new systems installed last year have made it possible for patients to walk into hospitals without documents as their biometrics are already captured in the digital system.

“The digitization is a major step but it needs to be well maintained for efficacy. The CT scan machines should also be serviced regularly so that patients are not sent elsewhere”.

He said the issues facing the health sector have been dampening Governor Kang'ata's reputable development record. 

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