Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko’s exposé on Pumwani Hospital on Monday has attracted plaudits and criticism in equal measure.
Members of the public were delighted in the governor’s impromptu visit to the facility uncovering decomposing bodies of infants stuffed in boxes inside a store.
The governor later suspended senior doctors and staff at the facility over alleged laxity and an attempt to hide details of infant deaths.
The immediate suspension of the medical staff perturbed the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU) officials who termed it as a populist move that will only worsen the situation.
KMPDU national Chairman Samuel Oroko, who spoke exclusively to kenyagist.com on Tuesday morning, opposed the governor’s decision asserting management of the health sector deserves better approaches away from reactions.
“We need to avoid reactionary approaches and populist actions. The best solution is to sit with the management, staff and mothers who have delivered at Pumwani hospital to come up with viable solutions to the challenges they are facing,” stated Oroko.
Oroko divulged that the staff and equipment at the facility are overworked appealing for the hiring of more doctors and nurses to avoid delays in attending to mothers seeking to deliver at the hospital.
“It is not a secret that there is a shortage of surgeons that can attend to mothers that require a surgery. We are also aware that one nurse at the hospital is required to attend to at least 20 mothers in the labour ward and this can be overwhelming,” revealed Oroko.
He called for a stakeholders’ engagement and consideration for the hiring of more nurses to ensure that one is only assigned to four mothers.
The hospital on Monday defended the decision to hold the 12 infants’ bodies at a room in cartons explaining they use the store as a makeshift holding area before they are picked by city mortuary staff.
Pumwani Hospital administration maintained that the situation was blown out of proportion given 156 babies were born healthy and alive compared to the 12 lives lost over the same period.
The hospital usually gives families the option of picking infants’ corpses and proceeding to inter them independently while others opt to leave them in the hands of the hospital for disposal.
KMPDU is now asking for the construction of a well-equipped mortuary with cold rooms at Pumwani.
The union faulted the suspension of its members over the governor’s findings accusing Sonko of ignoring the rightful procedures before taking the stern measures.
The union chairman stated that before the suspension, the governor should have allowed for a medical audit by the mandated professional bodies to ascertain circumstances of the alleged neglect of patients.