- Health workers have defended themselves against claims of negligence in the death of patients in public facilities across the country.
- The officials said they are working ‘in a pathetic’ environment where medical equipment are few if not lacking in some cases.
Health workers have defended themselves against claims of negligence in the death of patients in public facilities across the country.
Instead, the medics have blamed what they termed as systemic problems in the facilities that have affected their ability to properly attend to the patients.
“It is our wish to see a patient die on our hands. We are also human beings, but there is nothing we can do,” Nurse Boaz Onchari said.
The medics spoke through their union officials during a meeting with the senate health committee on Monday.
The committee chaired by Uasin Gishu Senator Jackson Mandago is probing deaths of patients at Kenyatta National hospital and Mama Lucy Kibaki hospital in Nairobi over alleged negligence.
The committee is investing the death baby Travis Maina, who died with a fork jembe lodged in his head, at KNH and Maureen Anyango, a mother who died after excessive bleeding after delivery at Mama Lucy.
Among the officials that attended the meeting that lasted more than six hours were drawn from the Kenya Medical Practioners and Dentists Union and Kenya National Union of Nurses.
Others are drawn from National Nurses Association of Kenya, Kenya Medical Association and Kenya Union of Clinical officers.
But the union officials defended themselves and their members over claims of negligence that led to the death of the patients.
“What would you do if you have 133 mothers and you are only three nurses and two doctors? That is the situation we are in,” Onchari, who works at Mbagathi hospital and is an official of the Kenya National Union of Nurses, told the committee.
He spoke moments after KMPDU secretary Davji Atellah, his chairman Abidan Mwachi and National Nurses Association Collins Otieno made a passionate case of the challenges they face.
The officials said they are working ‘in a pathetic’ environment where medical equipment are few if not lacking in some cases.
Most of the public facilities, they said are ill-staffed and basic facilities including ICU beds and technical staff lacking.
“We have a situation where you have 175 patients against three health care workers. There is no infrastructure,” Attelah said.
Giving a case of baby Travis, Mwachi held that the master could have been saved had Thika Level 5 hospital had a neurosurgeon as required of a level 5 facility.
Baby Travis was ferried to KNH from Thika Level 5 for special brain operation to remain the jembe due to lack of a neurosurgeon at the Kiambu based hospital.
“Had we had a pediatric neurosurgeon at Thika level 5, probably baby Travis would have been saved,” he said.
The doctor said that the medics at Mama Lucy Kibaki hospital handled Anyango with ‘abundance of care’ and that the situation would have been different had the hospital had an ICU.
Nurse Otieno called for hiring of more medics, proper financing of the health sector and proper equipping of the facilities for effective health care provision.
“Training of nurses on specialisation has been a challenge especially in the counties due to ineffective transition, counties have maintained that capacity building was not devolved,” Otieno said.
The medics asked for the establishment of a taskforce to look into challenges facing health sector and formation of a commission to handle human resources for health.