News 2008


Hospitals pay the price for violence

February 14, 2008


By Antony Gitonga And Jane Akinyi

Hospitals in Nyanza and Rift Valley provinces have borne the brunt of post-election violence after the displacement of technical staff.

The Director of Medical Services, Dr James Nyikal, said that most of the hospitals were operating with inadequate personnel.

Nyikal said that Rift Valley had lost 200 members of staff and Nyanza had also lost a similar number. He was, however, quick to add that the Ministry of Health was still working on the data.

"Central Province was also affected, but key hospitals in Rift Valley and Nyanza like Kericho, Molo, Kisumu, Kapsabet, and Nandi bore the blunt of the violence," said Nyikal.

Nyikal was speaking in Naivasha after touring the Naivasha District Hospital and the South Lake camp that is hosting more than 1,600 refugees. He said the Government would set up a clinic in the camp to deal with the soaring number of patients.

He also announced that immunisation of children below five would begin in the camps.

"Immunisation against measles will start immediately and we shall send in doctors and an ambulance to assist the displaced," he said.

He called on the Kenya Red Cross Society to give more food rations to HIV positive victims due to their status.

Elsewhere, 15 victims of post-election violence are still admitted at the Nyanza Provincial Hospital with gunshot wounds.

The hospitalís Medical Superintendent, Dr Juliana Otieno, said most of the patients were youths who were admitted more than a month ago.

Police shot the patients in riots after Mr Mwai Kibaki was declared the winner of the disputed, and so far discredited presidential elections.

Otieno, however, said most of the patients were responding well to treatment.

"They are out of danger and some of them will be discharged soon," she said

More than 60 people were killed in Kisumu by police during the riots, while 148 others were treated and discharged. Another 62 were admitted with bullet wounds.

The hospital has been receiving many dignitaries, including diplomats who come to console the patients.

Meanwhile, the Nyanza Regional Blood Transfusion manager, Dr Margaret Oduor, has appealed to residents to continue donating blood adding that hospitals in the region were facing blood shortage.

"We need many more blood to boost our blood bank," she said.