Medics in strike threat over Pumwani saga

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko
Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Doctors have threatened to go on a countrywide strike if the suspended colleagues from Pumwani hospital are not reinstated.

The doctors were sent home by Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko over the discovery of 12 bodies.

The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) chairman Samuel Oroko said Mr Sonko overstepped his mandate by suspending the individuals.

On Monday, Mr Sonko suspended the hospital’s medical superintendent Dr Catherine Mutinda, administrator Zaddock Angahya and gynecologist on duty Dr James Kamau after an impromptu visit that led to the discovery of the 12 bodies.

“The governor has handled the issue in a pedestrian way yet there are protocols that need to be followed and are within the law. We have a medical board which is supposed to conduct an audit and issue disciplinary action should they find anyone culpable,” he said.

The hospital administration said the bodies are stored in boxes because they do not have body bags and a morgue. Carton boxes and plastic disposal bags are the most available temporary storage for the bodies which are kept in a designated room and are collected weekly on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Pumwani hospital also has a 415-bed capacity against 160 nurses and is also facing shortage of specialists.

James Kamau, the gynecologist on duty had been on call all weekend because there is a shortage of doctors.

County Secretary Peter Kariuki however said that the county is keen on ensuring that no one is victimized over unavoidable circumstances.

“We are keen on ensuring that within a short period the doctors will be back to work if they are found not culpable,” he said.

The county says it will carry out neonatal surveys weekly and maternal deaths survey every two days as a measure of ensuring all deaths are accounted.

It will also create a neonatal ICU unit that will cater to emergencies that occur in an effort to drastically reduce the number of neonatal deaths.