Nakuru hospital cuts services as virus hits medics hard

An isolation ward at the Nakuru Level Five Hospital, which has suspended elective surgeries for two weeks due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Photo credit: Eric Matara | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Union officials claim more than 20 health workers have contracted the virus, with the hospital now banning visitors to stem further infections at the facility, which also serves Kericho, Baringo, Nyandarua, Samburu and Narok counties.
  • Meanwhile, workers’ unions on Sunday raised the alarm over the increasing cases of infections among medics, even as it emerged that an intern had died of the virus.

The Nakuru Level Five Hospital has suspended elective surgeries for the next two weeks as Covid-19 cases among medics at the facility continue to rise.

Union officials claim more than 20 health workers have contracted the virus, with the hospital now banning visitors to stem further infections at the facility, which also serves Kericho, Baringo, Nyandarua, Samburu and Narok counties.

“It is prudent for us to cancel elective surgeries and move them out further on the calendar. However, the hospital is still conducting emergency surgeries and other urgent procedures,” said Health executive Gichuki Kariuki. he said the move was part of measures to safeguard the well-being of patients.

This means more than 50 patients scheduled for non-urgent surgeries that include hip replacements, cataract extraction , ligament repairs, appendectomy among others, will have to wait for at least two weeks. At least 100 patients underwent elective surgeries at the facility last month, according to hospital records.

Call for action

Meanwhile, workers’ unions on Sunday raised the alarm over the increasing cases of infections among medics, even as it emerged that an intern had died of the virus.

“We want action taken urgently, otherwise operations at the facility may grind to halt. I call upon the county government to come up with more elaborate measures to protect medics,” Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU) South Rift Branch Secretary Davji Atellah said.

He said more than 20 medics have tested positive.

“Last week, a 23-year-old intern Clinical Officer died of the virus and was buried at her parents’ home in Kericho,” said a union official who sought anonymity.

Dr Gichuki said the county has bought enough Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) for its health workers.

Records indicate that 92 health workers in Nakuru County have been infected since March. At least seven nurses are among those who were recently infected.

Infection rate

The infection rate has doubled in the past 10 days, with the overall positivity rate standing at 6.7 percent against a national average of 4.6 per cent.

The department of health has sounded a warning over the rise in infections in the region which has recorded at least 1,700 cases. At least 22,000 people have been tested with 40 patients losing their lives.

As of Sunday, hospital admissions stood at 36 with 20 at the Nakuru Level Five Hospital, one in Naivasha, nine in Langalanga, two at Nakuru Annex Hospital and four at the Nakuru War Memorial Hospital.

Some 617 patients are under home-based care, 375 have been discharged whereas 242 are still under care. The Nation has established that counties are staring at stricter Covid-19 containment measures should their infection rates continue to rise.

Governor Lee Kinyanjui said his administration would revoke the licences of businesses that are flouting the Ministry of Health guidelines.

EMatara@ke.nationmedia.com