20 patients still at Nakuru Hospital despite discharge

Some have forgotten, lost relatives' contacts and can thus not go home

In Summary

• Vienna Karema ‘Msafiri’, an elderly patient was discharged last year but is still at the hospital.

• Deputy medical superintendent Dr Kennedy Owino said facility has been overwhelmed by increasing number of patients who have been discharged but are not ready to go home

Hospital beds
Hospital beds
Image: FILE

At least 20 discharged patients have been at Nakuru Level 5 Hospital for months, some for a year, despite being discharged and their bills waived.

Speaking to the Star on Wednesday, medical superintendent Dr Joseph Mburu said the patients have continued to stay because they don't have contacts of their relatives.

He said the hospital was being "overwhelmed".

Vienna Karema ‘Msafiri’, an elderly patient in orthopaedic Ward 10, was discharged last year but is still at the hospital.

Msafiri, who was admitted in February last year due to leg injuries, said he does not have a relative the hospital can contact.

“I was born in Rwanda and came to Kenya for casual work. I stayed in Kericho picking tea before moving to Nakuru’s Kitti estate where I used to milk cows," he said.

During his stay, he said, he lost family members' contacts and only remembers his sister, Chivarinda, who is in Rwanda.

“I’m from the Kagame’s clan. I came over during the colonial era and I want to ask my family to come for me because I may die here. I’m taken good care of but would like to go back to where I was born. Maybe my embassy will come to my rescue," he said.

The Star also interviewed Michael Mucacia, 76, who hails from Western; Salamanda Chanzu, 38, who stayed in Gilgil and hails from Vihiga and Joseph Engoria, who is in his 30s, comes from Turkana and worked as a casual labourer.

They said they were discharged months ago but have nowhere to go, even after their bills were waived.

“I lost my phone and don’t have any contacts of my people. It has been a while since I was at home and couldn't even trace it even if given a chance," Mucacia said. He used to be a casual labourer in Molo, Nakuru.

"If they see this report, I plead that they pick me from this facility immediately,” he said.

Margaret Okang’o, the nurse in charge of Ward 10, said it has 13 people who have remained at the hospital.

With 120 per cent occupancy, the orthopaedic ward is the most crowded.

It has a  capacity of 31 patients but it now has 61 patients, forcing some to share beds while others sleep on the floor due, Okang'o said.

"Most of them have stayed between a month and one year since the hospital processed their discharge,” the nurse said.

Deputy medical superintendent Kennedy  Owino said the hospital is grappling with the high number of referrals from neighbouring Narok, Kericho, Nyandarua, Bomet and other counties.

“High referrals can also be attributed to improved facilities and services. It's hard for us to send anyone away, even if we're at full capacity," he said.

Their continued stay is not only slowing recovery but also unnecessarily exposing them to the risk of secondary infections, as well as other possible complications, superintendent Mburu said.

At least 2,000 patients are treated daily,  750 of them being inpatients.

Mburu said lack of medical insurance cover has also contributed to the congestion.

The hospital has six ICU beds installed with ventilators and blood test analysers. A nurse at the Mother Baby Wing said though bed capacity was 48, occupancy is 55.

Mburu urged the Rwandese Embassy to trace the family of Msafiri so that he can go back home.

He also urged relatives of those who have been discharged to pick them.

“Allowing them to stay longer is making the facility incur extra cost," he said.

Edited by Eliud Kibii