Margaret Abio spent more than Sh5,000 seeking radiology services in Tana River County before she resolved to go to Malindi.
She has pain in her tummy following a motorbike accident in May.
"Whenever I came to Hola hospital, they sent me to buy drugs at the pharmacy for the pain. They would work for a while but once I finished them, the condition would return," she says.
After three trips from Hewani village to Garsen, she demanded the services of a radiologist, only to be told the specialist was not available. She was booked for a check and told to return in a week.
On her return, she found a different attendant, who advised her to go to Hola for the services.
She travelled to Hola the following day, only to be told the machine had broken down, and was instead referred to a private clinic.
"The same person who referred me to the private clinic arrived a few minutes later after the colleague called him by phone. He demanded Sh1,500 before he could run a scan, which I gave since I needed help," she says.
However, she was asked to wait 24 hours to get her results, as they mailed the scans elsewhere to be interpreted.
Disappointed by the events of that day, she called her son, who took her to Malindi Referral Hospital on the same day. She got the services and the results the same day.
"I was trying to put some trust in our hospitals, but they let me down. They did not take into consideration my condition," she says.
All this while, the radiology equipment in Garsen, Tana River County, closer to her home, was sitting idle in a condemned building that is almost sinking.
Services have been suspended for the past six months, forcing residents to travel 120km to Hola or 111km to Malindi to be treated.
As a result, they are left spending Sh1,500 for services that they spent Sh500 for just a year ago.
The specialists deployed at the health centre to serve more than 50,000 residents have been left with nothing much to offer apart from consultation services.
Garsen Health Centre Committee chairman Galgalo Golo says services were suspended after the building was found unfit for use.
"This building used to be a kitchen and laundry area. Instead of the department of health building a new structure for the machines, they simply fixed a few things here and converted it to a radiology room," he says.
Mr Golo notes that the machines were on, consuming electricity but not rendering the intended services.
He says that the committee had written to the department of health on numerous occasions to put up a new building for the equipment in vain.
"They will never act. It has been three years since we started talking about this. They have ignored us as usual," he says.
Also grounded is an ambulance that residents relied on for referrals.
The vehicle requires a component worth Sh200,000 to fix, but the department of health has turned a blind eye to it, and residents with emergencies use public means.
"We recently had an accident here. The administrator had to call for an ambulance from Hola, which was not available. The one from Ngao was serving another patient. One of the victims of the accident died right here," Mr Golo said.
Human rights activist Abdul Malik notes that almost 75 percent of the buildings in the hospital are condemned and new ones must be built.
The county administration is enslaving its people, he said.
"The purpose of devolution was to bring services closer to the people. What we are seeing in our health department is mediocrity of the highest level," he says.
Residents have urged the Ministry of Health to take over health services in Tana River County and hand it to professionals once it matures.
They have also called on the governor to commit to the promises he made about health during his election campaigns, noting that they will hold him accountable for every life lost as a result of poor services.