A shortage of medics has hit one of the top hospitals in Nakuru County.
The Margaret Kenyatta Mother Baby Wing, a major maternity facility at the Rift Valley Provincial General Hospital (PGH), has few doctors and nurses.
This is despite the facility that was constructed at a cost of Sh450 million, seeing increased deliveries everyday.
A nurse at the facility who requested anonymity told NEWSMEN that at times, patients are left in the hands of unqualified caregivers.
The nurse revealed that a ward that should have at least 34 nurses, is operating with only 13.“It is a bad situation.
For example, you will get one nurse handling an entire ward. The nurse cannot even take leave because of the many patients arriving,” said the medic.
“At times, we are forced to engage caregivers.”
Margaret Kenyatta Mother Baby Wing has a bed capacity of 250. Most of the medics dispatched at that maternity wing came from the old provincial level five hospital.
The maternity wing of the old hospital had 28 nurses. And some of them are the ones who currently are providing services in the present five wards — gynecology, Post Cesarean Section (CS), Labour, Theater and the Newborn Unit.
Each of the wards has a capacity of 48 patients.
“Nurses are expected to be in all units including theater, but it is a challenge because of the amount of work involved,” the nurse said.
According to her, gynecology ward has 13 nurses, out of which two are in the night shift, two take the usual night-off, one is on leave, leaving only three nurses manning the ward with a bed occupancy of 55.
Some department also are not fully operational. They include laboratory and ultra-sound.
Since the laboratory at the new Margaret Kenyatta Mother Baby Wing has operational challenges, blood samples are sometimes taken to the old maternity wing at PGH.
The challenge comes when nurses are forced to hire motorcycles to take them there. A situation where death as a result of hemorrhage can occur due to the delays involved.
“Procedure of blood-testing takes about 45 minutes to one hour. This might result into death because of hemorrhage,” said the nurse.
The facility records about 50 deliveries a day.County Executive for Health Kariuki Gachuki said plans to employ more health workers at the facility are underway.
Dr Gichuki said that health department recently wrote a letter to the Public Service Board (PSB) recommending the hiring of 20 nurses, and three specialists to be stationed at the maternity wing.
“PSB is expected to employ more trained health workers to man the wing,” said Gichuki.
According to statistics from the department of reproductive health in Nakuru County, there were 49 maternal deaths in 2016.
A number that has increased to 66 deaths by September 2018.
Neonatal deaths between January and September this year stood at 454, while still births due to difficulties during labour, bleeding and hypertension were at 1,346.