KNH nurses allege sexual harassment by male patients
Several female nurses at Kenyatta National Hospital have complained about harassment by male patients in the orthopaedic wing.
They alleged verbalised threats of intent, sexual assault, grabbing and shoving.
A nurse, who spoke to Nation in confidence for fear of being victimised, said: “They tell me to my face that they want to sleep with me.”
‘COLOUR OF UNDERGARMENT’
Another said: “Last year, someone described the colour of the undergarment I was wearing because as I attended to others, he looked under my dress.”
The nurses have resorted to wearing trousers to work, not as a preference but for protection. Their colleagues in other wards wear tunics.
Another described the ward as “abnormal” and “where unusual things happen”.
Another caregiver said their fear is compounded by lack of a guard in the sixth floor ward. The nurses also claimed that because of this, some male patients sneak in beer and drugs especially at night.
A spot check by the Nation on Monday found a male patient in a robe marked ‘Newborn Unit’. He was smoking at the entrance to the ward.
The check over the last two days also revealed congestion, with some patients on the floor.
The orthopaedic ward, meant for about 60 patients, has at least 106. A room in the ward has 21 instead of six patients.
According to workers on the floor, some of the patients cannot pay their bills and hope they will be written off.
Reached for comment, KNH told Nation it will respond after investigations. Stella Githaiga, the Nairobi chair of Kenya National Association of Nurses, said she spoke to nine KNH nurses who made various claims.
Past security incidents have strained the relationship between KNH and its nurses. In 2017, nurses were accused of the murder of a cancer patient.
On Saturday, nurse Mildred Akinyi was assaulted by the father of a patient who died from leukaemia. Via Twitter, Nursing Council of Kenya chief executive Edna Tallam said: “Our health professionals give their best and they must be respected and protected.”