Mbagathi Hospital a has congestion crisis as up to four mothers and their babies share one bed.
The room used as a meternity ward has only five beds — too few to meet the daily demand of about 18-20.
The crisis is due to a fire at the main maternity block in May that led to vacation of the new block.
The building had been condemned as an unsafe for occupation by county engineers in April.
The management and medical staff admitted facing diffucluties attending to mothers.
When the Star visited the hospital yesterday in the company of Health executive Hitan Majevdia, each bed had four mothers. Some, in labour, were outside the room waiting to get in.
“We cannot turn away mothers. We have to take them in, but what they go through inside there is horrible. We have four mothers and their babies. We feel we are not giving them proper care,” a nurse said.
According to nurse Boaz Muchai, chairman of the Kenya National Union of Nurses Nairobi chapter, births at the facility have dropped from between 60 and 80 a day to between 15 and 20 since the maternity block was vacated.
"The room is very congested. We are working in horrible conditions and I sympathize with the mothers. The county and the management should look for an alternative," Muchai said.
On May 23, fire broke out at the 120-bed new maternity block’s main meter box, causing panic among mothers and their babies, leading to the vacation of the structure.
Majevdia visited the hospital with engineers from the ministry of Public Works to access the condition of the condemned building.
“We are aware of the situation that our mothers are going through, but we cannot take them to another room because of the weather. We better have them here because it is warm,” he said.
"We are in this situation because of what happened to our main maternity block. I just want to beg for a few days for engineers to access the building. After that, we will do some renovations and then we go back there," Majevdia said.
The engineers said they were still auditing the building, but ruled out any serious defects.
"The issue was the fire, but the whole building is okay. So far there is nothing to worry about, so we are doing further tests to ensure that any small renovations that we will do, the problem will not recur,” one of the engineers said.
In April, county engineers found the block built in 2014 structurally unsound after cracks developed on the walls and ceilings.
Former Health chief officer Thomas Ogaro had in March written to the Public Works chief officer Fredrick Karanja to assess the building’s structural integrity soon after the cracks emerged.
In his response, Karanja said that after investigations, his engineer’s recommended the closure of the maternity wing and evacuation of all patients. He also recommended an audit of the building by a team of professionals –architect, structural, electrical and mechanical engineer.
"I don’t agree with the engineers because there is no way you can condemn a building by mere physical appearance,” Majevdia said in May.