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November 21, 2018

General traders fault demolitions of their shops near Mama Lucy

Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital /PATRICK VIDIJA
Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital /PATRICK VIDIJA
Traders have protested against the demolition of their shops along with private clinics, chemists and labs near Mama Lucy Hospital.
Demolitions took place on Tuesday and Wednesday. Mama Lucy Hospital had complained that patents were diverted to private medical facilities.
The traders on Wednesday said they were not operating clinics, pharmacies or labs and were not notified. Their businesses were located along Kayole Spine road.
Umoja Two MCA Joseph Ndonji explained that all the structures, including clinics and pharmacies, had been illegally constructed on road reserves. “The county intends to build a park along the road so all the structures had to be brought down,” Ndonji said.
Jackie Wabwire, who owned a boutique, said her store was wrongly  flattened. “Our public hospitals are inefficient as a result of poor management, and Mama Lucy is no exception,” she said. “Why should we be punished?”
Trader Joseph Murimi said, “My kiosk was destroyed. It was a few metres from the chemists and was my only source of income.”
Most traders called the demolition an act of oppression of the poor.
Agnes Njambi, a single mother of three, had set up a general shop next to Accra Pharmacy and Laboratory. Everything was destroyed.
 “My shop was set up in 2016. My customers were people who visited their loved ones in hospital. This was my only source of income and I have children to provide for,” she told the Star.
Gerald Oloo said he did not understand why his small eatery was destroyed, as it wasn’t a pharmacy or a clinic.
However, some residents have supported demolition of the structures, including the chemists and clinics. “Those chemists and labs right outside the hospital were a scam,” resident Chogo Nyar Solo said.
 Governor Mike Sonko, in an interview on Wednesday, said structures can be put up in city estates but not on road reserves.
“It hurts me to see people’s structures being demolished but the law has to be followed. Once we set up the modern structures, they will have a place to continue with their businesses,” he said.
Mama Lucy medical superintendent Musa Mohamed had requested the county cancel the operating licenses of the private medical facilities, mostly opposite the hospital. He said they were interfering with the operations of the hospital.
Musa said the operators have been directing patients seeking services in the main hospital to their facilities, where they overcharge and offer substandard services, tarnishing the name of Mama Lucy.
“We request the intervention of the county government, through its various arms like the licensing department, to withdraw the licenses of the facilities across from hospital,” the letter dated August 2 reads.
Owners of the private facilities said they lost costly supplies and equipment.
They said the county did not notify them the demolitions.
Most of them said their facilities were licensed by both the Pharmacy and Poisons Board and the county. More than 1,200 patients seek treatment at Mama Lucy hospital daily.
The facility has been grappling with shortages of drugs and staff. There are claims some of the private clinics are owned by doctors working at Mama Lucy hospital.
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