Senate team asked to investigate status of Murang'a health facilities

Residents claim that the facilities lack ambulances and that services have slumped

In Summary

Lawyer Joseph Mwangi Wachira passed away on May 17 while receiving treatment at Murang'a Level Five hospital.

His friends said the hospital intended to reffer him to another facility in Nyeri but lacked an operational ambulance to take him.

Murang'a County ICU centre.
Murang'a County ICU centre.
Image: Alice Waithera

Senator Joe Nyutu wants the Senate health committee to investigate the status of health facilities in Murang’a county.

This follows an outcry by Murang’a residents that the facilities lack ambulances and that health services have slumped.

On May 17, lawyer Joseph Mwangi Wachira passed away while receiving treatment at Murang’a Level 5 Hospital over alleged lack of ambulance.

It is said the lawyer had spent the day at Kiria-ini shopping centre in Mathioya with his friends before retiring to his home at around 8pm.

His friends said he suddenly fell ill and was rushed to Kiria-ini Mission Hospital and he was referred to Murang’a Level 5 Hospital, where he was put in the ICU.

Ahadi Kenya CEO Stanley Kamau, a close friend of the deceased, said he called him the following day at noon to find out his progress only for another person to pick the call.

Lawyer Joseph Mwangi Wachira who died on May 17, 2023.
Lawyer Joseph Mwangi Wachira who died on May 17, 2023.
Image: Alice Waithera

“I reached his friend and he told me he had left him in the ICU and had gone to take tea. I asked him to give the doctor at the ICU the phone so I could talk to him. The doctor said they were working on a referral to Nyeri,” Kamau said.

“I asked him ‘I thought Wachira was in ICU?’. He told me ‘yes but we have a few issues we want to do a referral’. I was very distressed.” 

Asked whether the patient would be transported in an ambulance, the doctor then said he was not sure there was a working ambulance at the facility.

Kamau, who was in February this year appointed as Police Ambassador in Community Policing said had the ICU been in a proper working status and an ambulance available, the life of his friend could have been saved.

Kamau pledged to seek funds to procure an ambulance that will be stationed at Kiria-ini Mission Hospital so that those in need can get help.

He challenged political leaders to ‘get their priorities right’, eulogising the lawyer as one of the champions of succession cases that the county has been grappling with for years.

“He was very passionate about community service. I have a list of all the cases he was working on pro bono and will ensure they continue to make sure what he stood for is fulfilled.”

Senator Nyutu, who was addressing the Senate last week, asked the health committee to establish the circumstances that led to the death of the lawyer at Murang’a Level 5 Hospital.

Murang'a Senator Joe Nyutu during a previous event.
Murang'a Senator Joe Nyutu during a previous event.
Image: Alice Waithera

In its report, Nyutu said the committee should also disclose the availability of medical oxygen and ambulance services at the hospital during the time the lawyer died.

“The committee should establish the overall state of health facilities especially Muriranjas and Maragua level four hospitals stating the type of medical services and procedures provided at the facilities, whether they have sufficient wards and whether the county has adequate competent staff to respond to medical emergencies,” he said.

The senator also sought to find out whether health facilities have adequate drugs and medical supplies to meet patients’ demands and the types and quantities available, and address allegations that doctors in public facilities are directing patients to private facilities they own.

Law Society of Kenya president Eric Theuri, who attended Wachira’s burial in Mathioya constituency, said he received the news of his death with disbelief. He eulogised Wachira as a devout lawyer and family man.

Last week, Kanyenya-ini MCA Grace Nduta found herself in trouble when she told irate members on a WhatsApp group that there was indeed a problem in the health sector but pleaded with them to understand that Governor Irungu Kang’ata had inherited some of the challenges being faced from the previous regime.

“We inherited loans from Kemsa, dilapidated facilities, demotivated health workers and lack of essentials to work effectively. Were it not for the delayed disbursement of government allocation, we would have improved a bit”.

The MCA shortly after received summons to appear before the Powers and Privileges Committee for making statements likely to reflect negatively on the dignity or integrity of the assembly.

“It has come to the attention of the committee that on Thursday, May 18, while engaging in conversations on social media, you posted messages on MCP WhatsApp group that in the opinion of the committee… is contrary to the best interests of the assembly,” the letter signed by clerk Kuria Thuita read.

Residents say the lawyer's demise exposed the poor state of hospitals in the county and challenged the county government to take immediate action.

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