What you need to know:
- Governor Salim Mvurya on Monday warned that serious action would be taken against medical workers at Diani Health Centre.
- Ms Esther Mwakazi and her son were misdiagnosed in July at the health centre in Kwale County, where she had gone for an ante-natal check-up.
- The governor further cautioned health workers in the county to be professional in their work to avoid such incidents.
The Kwale County Government is investigating how a pregnant mother was misdiagnosed with HIV and, together with her one-year-old son, was put on anti-retroviral drugs for three months.
Governor Salim Mvurya on Monday warned that serious action would be taken against medical workers at Diani Health Centre, found to have engaged in professional misconduct in the case of Ms Esther Mwakazi. He termed the incident unprofessional, adding that his government had instituted a speedy investigation into the issue.
The 34-year-old woman and her son were misdiagnosed in July at the health centre in Kwale County, where she had gone for an ante-natal check-up.
Later, after a visit to other hospitals including Coast General Hospital, mother and son, who was still breastfeeding, were found to be HIV negative. Their story was carried exclusively by the DN2 magazine in the Daily Nation.
The governor further cautioned health workers in the county to be professional in their work to avoid such incidents.
Terming the incident as “most unfortunate”, County Health executive Athman Chiguzo said: “Already there is a team led by the county secretary, which is meeting to discuss the issue and by the close of the day, we will know what action has been taken.”
He added that should the officer who did the test be found to have erred “then there is no doubt that he or she will have to be punished.”
The Health executive further faulted the manner in which the testing was done, saying there were no confirmatory tests conducted to confirm the results.
Mr Chiguzo added that even if the tests were conducted accordingly, no records were provided to prove that indeed, a confirmation test was made to ascertain the HIV status of the woman.
“Testing is normally done in front of a person but I heard there are almost five samples which were taken and there is a very high likelihood that they were changed in the process,” he said.
Meanwhile, a human rights group has said the health centre will be sued over the matter.
Haki Afrika, through lawyer Yusuf Abubakar, said Ms Mwakazi’s medical reports and her accounts of how the HIV tests were done pointed to medical negligence by the health centre.
“We have seen evidence of medical negligence that violates the rights of Esther and her husband. We will write to the health facility concerned this week and give them 14 days to respond. If there is none, then we will go to court,” said Mr Abubakar.
He said the organisation had received at least 16 cases of medical negligence and that it would combine all the cases for legal action.
The rights group officer Salma Ahmed said Haki Afrika would in 14 days call for a mass protest over cases of medical negligence.
Ms Mwakazi urged pregnant women to seek a confirmation of their HIV test results before embarking on any medication.