MORE than 200 in-patients at the Malindi District Hospital were discharged yesterday as the ongoing nurses strike began to bite.
Patients, who were turned away from the hospital that serves the North Coast upto Tana River and Lamu, had to seek treatment at private clinics and hospitals. It was agonising for those who could not afford treatment at private facilities as they had to return home.
The clinical officers, who were attending to outpatient services, were overwhelmed by the work. Dhahabu Chirume, a mother with a sick child said she was forced to return home to get money to take her child for treatment at Tawfiq private hospital.
"My child's condition is critical, but because I cannot be attended to, I have to go home to look for money for treatment at a private hospital," she said.
Most locals prefer to go to the government hospital as services are cheaper compared to the private ones. District Medical Superintendent officer Morris Buni said some services had been suspended at the hospital until the strike is resolved.
He said the patients had to be discharged because there were no nurses to care of them. "We shall no longer admit patients at the hospital until the strike ends. There will also be no surgical operations," he said.
Buni said all 95 nurses at the hospital did not report to work. They staged a demonstration in Malindi streets to push the government to address their welfare especially the working conditions and salaries.
The placard-carrying nurses paralysed traffic flow for several hours as they marched in the streets. They vowed not to return to work until their demands are addressed by the government. Among the grievances they want addressed include proper working condition and licensing their union.