The Star (Nairobi)

3 January 2013

Kenya: Patients Flock to Private Hospitals

Photo: B Wolff/UN
Nurse attends to a patient (file photo): Striking nurses have defied an order to call off the strike.

FACILITIES in Meru private hospitals have been stretched to the limit because of an influx of patients due to the strike of nurses in public hospitals which is now its sixth week.

A spot check done by the Star in several hospitals revealed that some of the hospitals are unable to cope with the increasing numbers of patients.

TB patients interviewed at Kiirua Mission Hospital said they had stayed for almost a week without drugs. The hospital administrator said the drugs are out of stock and they have not received new supplies.

Police criminal cases are also being referred to the private hospitals. "We are handling criminal cases from the whole of Meru county and we are afraid that they may turn to us and start stealing our property because there are no police officers guarding them", said one of the hospital managers.

They also called upon the government to consider deploying more nurses and medical practitioners to their hospitals to help ease the deficit of their shortage because they also offer some free services similar to those of the public hospitals.

Many of the patients have persistently been seeking treatment from the private hospitals after operations at the government hospitals were paralyzed due to the ongoing national nurses' strike even as the government accepted to hold talks with the striking nurses.

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