What Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko found to be shocking at Pumwani Maternity Hospital is only news and shock to him and his calibre of VIPs.
To the public, it’s a normal rotting public service that is often resuscitated to life when senior government officers stumble in.
That’s when the wards are cleaned and maggot-infested toilets washed while sadistic nurses pretend to smile and treat patients humanely. Even medicines show up in the pharmacies and all staff report on duty on time.
At one time, expectant mothers at Westlands County Hospital were required bring jerricans of water since the facility’s taps were dry.
The hanging of coats on seats to hoodwink patients that the doctor is within when, in reality, he is miles away is is still alive.
Some work part-time in private hospitals, which pay them three times what the government pays. They run clinics, hospitals and chemists. Public hospitals are places to meet girlfriends, relatives, business partners and clients.
A patient in need of immediate medical attention will die on the queue as the doctor entertains gossip. Should patients complain, they are sternly warned that they won’t be the first to die.
But Sonko’s friends — governors, Cabinet secretaries, MPs and others — only visit public hospitals on fact-finding missions and during elections, not for treatment.
For any slight ailment, they simply fly out to Europe or South Africa. Why can’t we emulate Tanzania’s President John Magufuli, whose wife was admitted at Muhumbili, Dar es Salaam’s public hospital?
Kenyan doctors are among the best globally and that’s why they manage such complex surgeries as separating conjoined twins.
Let’s pay our doctors, nurses and other health personnel well and improve the state of hospitals. Install a computerised staff register that switches off the moment a worker exits the office. Add to that CCTV cameras to monitor operations.
So, next time our governor requires medical attention, he should go to a public hospital.
Robert Musamali, Nairobi.
During an impromptu visit to Pumwani Maternity Hospital, Mr Sonko ‘discovered” 12 bodies of infants packed in cartons in a store.
But the hospital says it doesn’t have a mortuary. That’s where he should start: Build a mortuary.
Margaret Nanjala, via email.
“It was not the corpses of children of the rich that were found in boxes at Pumwani Maternity Hospital,” Salah Abdi Sheikh, an author, wrote on social media.
That’s why, though the babies allegedly did not die from natural causes, no one is in court to seek justice for them and their kin.
The Pumwani ‘expose’ only serves to say there is more than meet the eyes and is a clear pointer to the moral and ethical decadence in our health institutions.
Ibrahim A Issack, via email.