21 September 2017

Kenya: Woman Rushed to Tanzania for Treatment Dies

A 43-year-old woman who sought treatment in Tanzania for pregnancy-related complications as a result of the Kenyan nurses' strike died Wednesday.

Ms Josephine Chole, from Taita- Taveta County, died as she waited to be admitted to Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre.

She was eight months pregnant.

"She had visited the neighbouring country seeking treatment because health services in Taita-Taveta are grounded," said Mr Aggrey Makau, the woman's husband.

He added: "I blame the ongoing strike. My wife would have been treated in Kenya if there was no stalemate. She has left me with three children."

TREATMENT

Her death was attributed to pre-eclampsia - a pregnancy complication characterised by high blood pressure and signs of damage to other organs such as the liver and kidneys.

Contacted, the county's health chief officer John Logedi admitted that some patients had indeed crossed into the neighbouring country for treatment.

Dr Logedi, however, ordered the striking nurses to resume duty, warning that they will not receive the August and September salaries.

In Kilifi, health executive Rachael Musyoki said 50 nurses have been hired and deployed in three main hospitals to handle emergency situations.

"Earlier when the strike started we hired 20, in total we have hired 50 nurses. It's a temporary solution as we persuade nurses to resume work. We are calling each nurse to plead with them. Some have responded positively, others are adamant," said Ms Musyoki.

NOT SACKED

In Mombasa, the county government assured more than 600 striking nurses that they will not be sacked.

Director of Communications Richard Chacha said that despite the strike, doctors and other health staff were offering services in five main public hospitals.

The county has contracted 100 nurses from neighbouring Kwale, Kilifi, Tana River, Taita-Taveta and Lamu counties who are handling cases at the Coast Provincial General Hospital (CPGH), the largest referral facility in the region.

In Lamu County, patients have been left with no option but to seek treatment in private hospitals.

PRIVATE HOSPITALS

"We are forced to walk for more than 30 kilometres to Faza Hospital or pay for a speedboat to Lamu Island in times of emergency.

"No dispensary is operating in this area," said Mr Bakari Athman, a resident of Mtangawanda.

In Nyamira, striking nurses accused the government of ignoring their plight.

Kenya National Union of Nurses county branch chairman Andrew Okebiro and secretary Richard Orutwa said they were unhappy with the government's decision to keep quiet as sick Kenyans continued to suffer.

In Nyandarua, nurses are yet to resume work, a week after Governor Francis Kimemia pleaded with them, promising to meet them.

As at Wednesday, public hospitals remained deserted.

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