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Fake medics busted

The ugly side of Nairobi’s medical sector was laid to the bare in a crackdown that netted quacks offering services in backstreet clinics.

The rot has not spared pharmacies either.

Three people involved in over-the-counter drug distribution were detained when it was discovered they had not undergone any training.

In Umoja, Jerusalem chemist did not have a trained worker despite offering pharmaceutical, laboratory, imaging as well as treatment services.

The owner, Onesmus Mwangi, defended himself saying he employed doctors and specialists from Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital on part time basis.

The hospital is only a stone-throw away from the chemist.

Unbearable stench

He was arrested after the individuals manning his business took off on sensing the inspection team was around.

Patients caught in the middle of the inspection said it was sad and shocking to discover that they had entrusted their lives and those of their kin to fakes.

However, most patients also faulted the government and the bodies that register such institutions.

“These are not underground hospitals like abortion clinics. We citizens assume that before they sprout, they have satisfied all the regulatory bodies,” said Jane Mulama who had accompanied a maternity patient to St Judes Medical Centre in Komarock.

The pharmacist at the hospital had to beg for mercy after failing  to produce the necessary papers. Her pleas bore no fruits as she was given two days to personally present them to the board.

Not one in the 28 medical centres visited by the inspectors drawn from different boards and the Nairobi health inspectorate team passed all the required standards.

“Hundreds of private hospitals continue to operate in the city with unqualified staff who endanger  lives of unsuspecting residents,” said Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board (KMPDB) CEO, Daniel Yumbya.

The state of hygiene in most of these hospitals was begging. The general cleanliness in hospitals offering outpatient services was deplorable. Astonishingly, some even offered inpatient services.

A clear example was Arrow Kenya hospital in Kayole. It had several wards with tens of beds. The inspectors ordered its immediate closure.

When the team accompanied by police descended on the hospital, not a single nurse was around yet there was a woman in the  Labour Ward who was just about to give birth. The stench in the hallway was unbearable.

The hospital, which at the time of the raid, had ten patients at the reception and consultation areas had been operating in the area without licence for the past six years.

“If it is a minor illness, we usually come here as there is no public hospital nearby,” said Frida Mukami.