Makueni MCAs grill health officials over go-slow in hospitals

Doctors at county hospitals on go-slow over low pay, overwork, working conditions

In Summary
  • Patients sent to buy drugs at specific chemists because hospital allegedly out of medicines. Hospital calls claim malicious.
  • Shortage of doctors means some are called back after their shift ends to work another shift. Hospital has requested more doctors.

The Makueni assembly on Wednesday questioned health officials over the public outcry regarding the alleged go-slow at the hospitals across the county.

The health officials were asked to explain why most facilities in the county lacked drugs and why patients were sent to buy drugs at specific chemists among other things.

Appearing before the Makueni Assembly General Oversight Committee, Dr Paul Musila admitted there is a shortage of medics and that after working hours some have to be called to get back to work. He said the assembly will be requested to hire more doctors.

Dr Musila is the county executive for health.

Led by the Assembly Speaker Douglas Mbilu the Department was asked to explain why most county facilities lack drugs, why patients are sent to buy drugs in specific chemists why the Universal Health Card is not in use.

Mbilu MCA for Kikumbulyu North said there is usually a gap at night hours because some patients who go various dispensaries claim that they wait for a long time long before they are attended to.

Wote Nziu ward MCA Felix Mateso said customer care services, especially within the Referral Hospital, are wanting despite the large number of critical patients flowing into the facility.

Mavindini MCA Jonathan Kimongo said facility doesn't need a customer care desk but ready staff to give service to the people of Makueni.

Musila promised they shall fully incorporate the staff and ensure they deliver to avoid future arguments.

As for patients being prescribed to buy drugs at specific chemists, the health head denied the claims, calling them malicious. He said the staff are well versed with their jobs and anyone going astray will be met by dispensary action.

On the drugs issue, he acknowledged that sometimes there is a shortage but defended the facility, citing the great number of patients coming in daily.

"Our facility, especially the casualty section at the MCHR, receives so many clients just like Kenyatta Hospital and I must stay my doctors do their best to control the situation,” Musila said.

However, the MCAs said that clients have questioned the delay of immediate attention to very critical illnesses, urging the department to act swiftly and professionally.

Nominated Wiper MCA Elizabeth Mutindi alleged there are many complaints from patients who are maliciously referred to an outside imaging centre.

"The Assembly has learnt he scan machine at the facilities have faults by design for someone to get a kickback after external referral information from childhood friends around town, " Mutindi said.

Dr Musila admitted that the hospital lacks a pathologist and they are seeking two to operate fully as well as repair the radiology machine.

On the Universal Healthcare Card commonly known as Kivutha Card (started by former Governor Kivutha) the Minister said the card is usually activated after two weeks after registration.

For those older than 65 years, the card works immediately after registration and that if there is an issue somewhere, they shall ensure thorough checking.

Health chief officer Dr Stephen Ndolo said some feel demotivated after waiting for promotions from the County Public Service board, a process that has been delayed, they said..

Ndolo distanced the hospital from those he called unqualified staff, saying heads don’t participate on the deployment exercise.

"As the head of department, we have been chasing shadows to find out whether the officers deployed are qualified or wrongly placed,” Ndolo said.

The whole house through the Speaker expressed confidence in the Health Department and urged them to tackle the issues promptly to ensure mwananchi is comfortable with their mandate.

Majority leader Kyalo Mumo said doctors are people who deserve to be respected, despite the few challenges at the facility.

"Doctors are not people to joke with, they can open your head and close it by knitting,” Kyalo said.

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