Nairobi News

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Labour of pain for expectant mothers at KNH

Kenyatta National Hospital’s maternity wing has witnessed an unprecedented rise in the number of expectant women arriving to give birth.

The number of expectant mothers has jumped from 35 normally attended to in the maternity wing a day to 105 mothers, following closure of other public hospitals in Nairobi due to the ongoing strike by public health workers.

About 60 babies are being delivered at the hospital every day instead of the previous 30 babies — a 100 per cent increase — said the hospital’s Head of Reproductive Health, Dr John Ong’ech.

The unit is one of the four most hit areas in the hospital following the strike. Others are the Accident and Emergency Unit, the Paediatric Unit and the New-born and Neonatal Unit.

Dr Ong’ech said the on-going has contributed immensely to decreased privacy of patients and lack of quality services as the few doctors and nurses at the unit are overwhelmed.

“We have no beds. Patients are now labouring while sharing one bed between two or even three because the labour ward cannot be expanded,” he said in an interview with Nairobi News.

Dr Ong’ech said the infrastructure is limiting the number of patients the hospital can handle at a given moment and have had to improvise to help as many patients as possible.

When Nairobi News visited on Tuesday, the unit was unmistakably congested and some mothers had no option than to wait for their turn to be served. Others had mattresses put on the floor for them in the wards.

The number of caesarean operations has increased by 50 per cent. About 25 mothers were being operated on every day from the normal 17.

As a result, the section is currently operating on a 24-hour schedule with a provision of a new theatre.

However, with only 19 doctors and 45 nurses, the unit remains one of the busiest with the high workload in the hospital.

At the admission point, the mothers-to-be yesterday waited in a line of about 10 at a time.