May 2017 Dailynation;The number of nurses at the Nakuru County Level Five Hospital has declined by 25 percent since the start of devolution.
A Nakuru County Assembly Health report on the state of the hospital four years after devolution painted a grim picture and cast doubts on the future of health for the more than 2 million residents.
According to Kapkures Ward Representative Mr Joseph Lang’at, who chaired authoring of the report, before devolution there were 450 nurses on payroll but the number decreased to 353.
This subsequently affected service delivery at the referral hospital which also serves residents of Narok, Kericho and Baringo counties.
The report further reveals that since 2013, a total of 101 health workers in various cadres such as medical officers, specialists, nurses and clinical officers have left service, or retired after attaining the mandatory retirement age of 60.
LEFT OR RETIRED
However, staff members who left or retired have not been replaced.
The busy hospital currently has only 40 medical officers and specialists, a shortfall of the required 110, in accordance to its size.
The report says that the six beds in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) lack emergency facilities.
Lack of equipment at the ICU, the report says, poses a serious danger since Nakuru is home to two major highways, Nakuru – Eldoret highway and the busy Nakuru –Nairobi highway, both of which are prone to serious road accidents.
Mr Lang’at said information they gathered at the hospital after a fact finding mission last month shows that shortage of facilities at ICU has worsened the situation given that there is lack of specialists in units such as nurses, physiotherapists and anaesthetists.
“There are departments such as radiology, orthopaedic, oncology, internal medicine obstetrician and gynaecology which are operating completely without specialists,” said the report.
Ageing infrastructure is also another cause of concern. The hospital experiences heavy congestion which has led to sharing of beds, while vehicles are inadequate.
A multi-million trauma centre project started to cater for accidents victims stalled due to lack of Sh20 million to start it.
At the same time, the hospital is reeling under heavy debts. It is owed nearly Sh80 million in unpaid maternity fees.
The committee recommends to the county government to employ more health workers at the hospital so as to close the deficit, set aside funds to employ specialists, and purchase additional vehicles.
To address future problems, the committee has urged the county government to fast-track formation of county public health management board.