FACILITY OVERSTRETCHED

Shalom Hospital asks state to allow workers to leave

Hospital was sealed off on Friday with all staffers and over 150 patients following a Covid-19 scare

In Summary

• Hospital management wants their staffers relieved from duty after three days at work 

• Machakos official says they are waiting for directives from the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Council on way forward 

Machakos county inspectorate officers man Shalom Hospital's main entrance after it was sealed-off on Monday June 29, 2020
SEALED-OFF: Machakos county inspectorate officers man Shalom Hospital's main entrance after it was sealed-off on Monday June 29, 2020
Image: GEORGE OWITI

 

The Shalom Hospital in Athi River has asked the Health ministry to intervene so its staffers who are locked at the facility are allowed to go home.

The hospital was sealed off on Friday following a Covid-19 scare. Four people died from coronavirus at the facility prompting authorities into action.

 

All staff who were inside together with more than 150 patients have been subjected to mandatory Covid-19 testing.

The hospital's management now wants employees who tested negative for the virus to be allowed to go home.

The hospital’s administrator Thomas Ndolo on Monday said the facility lacked the capacity to house both staffers and the over 150 patients.

The facility was sealed off by the Machakos county government and the Ministry of Health.

“Those who have been tested for Covid-19 alongside the patients locked in since last Friday have already stretched and exceeded the accommodation facilities. More are meant to be tested but the hospital will not have capacity for more accommodation,” Ndolo said.

He spoke to the Star outside the hospital.

The staffers locked up at the hospital were all tested on Saturday. Their colleagues who had arrived to relieve them of duty were barred from accessing the premises. Those staffers were tested on Sunday.

Ndolo said employees who reported to work for Friday night shift at 6pm before the facility was sealed-off were yet to be relieved as directed by the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Council.

He said the situation was dire with the patients in deplorable state because the cordoning off had cut off a lot of supplies including basics like food.

Only two chefs were present, Ndolo said.

Machakos health executive Ancent Kituku said sealing off of the hospital was not effected by the county government but the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Council.

He said as a county government, they were waiting for communication from the council on whether to allow people to leave.

Kituku said the council had done the right thing by sealing-off the hospital to safeguard patients from contracting Covid-19 after deaths were reported.

“We have a duty as a county government to protect patients in all facilities within the county whether public or private. The sealing-off of the hospital has prevented patients from interacting with those infected with coronavirus hence combating the spread of Covid-19,” Kituku told the Star on the phone on Monday.

He said the council made the decision after they sent a team who conducted investigations at Shalom and came up with a report and recommendations.

Kituku said some tests had been done on the staffers who had been locked inside the hospital. Out of 169 samples, 16 turned positive for Covid-19.

“We did 92 more tests on the staffers who had been denied access to the facility, sent the samples to Nairobi and we are still waiting for the results,” Kituku said.

Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board CEO Daniel Yumbya said the hospital had been sealed off to allow for testing of Covid-19 for those inside the facility.

Yumbya said the testing was to ensure the safety of health workers and patients who were still receiving treatment at the facility was not compromised.

“The hospital will serve as a quarantine and isolation facility once all the guidelines for isolation have been met. A team from the council has already been sent to the facility to asses it for the same,” Yumbya said on Saturday.

He said patients currently receiving treatment at the facility were not affected in any way.

“The council has further directed that health workers are allowed at the facility to relieve those who were on duty since yesterday,” Yumbya said.

 

Edited by P.O