EDITORIAL: Sort out Nairobi healthcare

Mike Sonko
Nairobi governor Mike Sonko. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

A furious Nairobi governor Mike Sonko, ostensibly acting on a tip-off, stormed the city’s Pumwani Maternity Hospital on Monday to expose the horrific handling of bodies of infants who have died in the hospital.

Twelve bodies were found stashed in gunny bags. Only six were documented, raising suspicion of negligence. Police have since opened investigations into the alleged offences, and it would sensible to wait for the outcome.

What is, however, certain to us is that if the governor’s action was meant to show that he has his finger on the pulse of the county’s public healthcare, he has only succeeded in demonstrating the opposite.

There is no worse indictment of the state of Nairobi’s public health system than the horrific handling of the bodies of the little angels much like household garbage.

Why doesn’t the county’s only referral maternity hospital have a mortuary, much less a cold room for proper preservation of bodies? Isn’t the one year that Mr Sonko has been in office enough for him to have come to the realisation that Pumwani lacks some of the basic facilities its needs to function properly.

We must tell the governor without mincing words that Nairobi’s healthcare does not need populist action but concrete steps that will provide effective and long-lasting solutions to its many challenges.