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WAR ON CORONAVIRUS

Open main gate of Coast General Hospital — lobby

Closed to limit movement and Covid spread; activists say other entries overcrowded.

In Summary

• CHRJ executive director Julius Ogogoh said the decision to close the main gate was abrupt and stakeholders, including the public, were not properly consulted.

• However, the CGTRH CEO Iqbal Khandwalla said the closure of the main gate was necessitated to restrict movement and spread of Covid-19.

The closed main gate of the Coast General Teaching and Referral Hospital.
NO ENTRY The closed main gate of the Coast General Teaching and Referral Hospital.
Image: BRIAN OTIENO

@Yobramos4                          

Coast General Teaching and Referral Hospital in Mombasa has closed its main gate to restrict movement and limit the spread of Covid-19.

The Commission for Human Rights and Justice on Thursday said the main gate should be opened to avoid crowding at the Emergency Section gate, where Covid also could spread.

CHRJ executive director Julius Ogogoh said the decision to close the main gate was abrupt and stakeholders, including the public, were not properly consulted.

“This has inconvenienced the patients, especially those with disabilities who now have to walk longer to access the gate and have to deal with a crowded gate at the Emergency Section,” Ogogoh said.

The Coast General Teaching and Referral Hospital's emergency gate.
EMERGENCY: The Coast General Teaching and Referral Hospital's emergency gate.
Image: BRIAN OTIENO

However, hospital CEO Iqbal Khandwalla said the closure of the main gate was necessitated to restrict movement into and out of the hospital because of Covid-19.

“We are in a Covid-19 period and we have to take precautions. Screening all those who are allowed to enter the hospital has to be done and this will be more effective if we have limited entry points,” Khandwalla on the phone.

He said opening many entry points will create problems because it will require additional staff, which is not possible because of financial strain caused by the pandemic.

The main gate was closed at the onset of Covid-19. The decision was made by the hospital's  Covid-19 Advisory Committee.

Khandwalla said some decisions are medically motivated. However, Ogogoh said the closure of the bigger main gate has created overcrowding at the Emergency gate with defeats the purpose of the closure.

“At any given time, there are as many as 30 people at the gate. One may be excused for thinking there is a rally at the hospital gate,” Ogogoh said

Khandwalla said they have been sensitising the public to the dangers of crowding at the gate.

“We are doing our best to ensure members of the public do not crowd at the gate. It has taken some doing but we are starting to see results. The crowds are reducing,” he said.

Visitors have been restricted. Only one visitor is allowed per patient.

CHRJ has indicated it will file a court petition to have the main gate opened.

“In the petition, we will be asking for the minutes to show if any consultation with the the public was done,” Ogogoh said.

(Edited by V. Graham)