A Nairobi County Assembly committee report has revealed the poor state of affairs at Mama Lucy Level Four Hospital.
The revelation comes at a time when another county hospital, Pumwani Maternity Hospital, has been making headlines over the discovery of bodies of infants, mismanagement and understaffing.
The Health Services Committee report has laid bare the sorry state and challenges faced by Mama Lucy Hospital which include congestion of patients, lack of adequate equipment, and inefficient management policies and procedures.
The hospital also suffers inadequate facilities and staffing besides demoralised staff.
The report, tabled before the assembly on Wednesday by the committee’s chairman Peter Warutere, said that the hospital has a bed capacity of 112 which is not enough for a level four hospital.
The hospital that is meant to serve approximately one million residents living in the Eastland’s parts of Nairobi has a mortuary but can only handle eight bodies.
However, there is a proposal of putting up a cooler, subject to allocation of funds, which can take up to 50 bodies.
“There are three theatres with inadequate staffing. In case of power blackouts, the theatres rely on power from a generator which keeps on breaking down and hence [it is] unreliable,” read the report prepared following an inspection visit at the hospital by the committee.
The report also revealed that the maternity section of the hospital, which handles up to 40 deliveries a day, with an average of 24 being normal deliveries while the rest are done through caesarean section, has only one gynaecologist against the requirement of four needed for the unit to operate efficiently.
At the same time, up to three mothers who deliver at the hospital share a bed sometimes and due to the congestion, mothers are discharged after only eight hours instead of the recommended 24 hours.
“The committee was stunned to find at the rear of the maternity, just separated by a few meters, a room meant to be a classroom had been turned into a male ward. It was more disturbing to learn that this was the only male ward at the hospital with a bed capacity of nine males,” said Mr Warutere.
The report also revealed that the hospital’s paediatric unit – for children under five years and their mothers – lacks a paediatric officer and had only two nurses.
This is despite the fact that the unit serves an estimated 24,000 patients in a month and about 500 children a day.
On the other hand, the paediatric inpatient ward has a new-born unit with only four incubators and five baby cots and only two rooms for medical or surgical patients.
The accident and emergency unit’s surgical orthopaedic department has a shortage of staff and lacks a motorised machine to attend to patients.
“There was no general ward for women, no functional ambulance at the time and there was low morale among staff due to allegations of incompetence, harassment, tribalism and nepotism by the top management,” said the Roysambu MCA.
The hospital also had no store for drugs, forcing the management to improvise cargo containers as makeshift stores.
This is because a warehouse, under construction, has stalled due to the transition challenges faced by county governments.
“The blood, urine and stool tests section has 14 lab technicians whereas they require 25 to operate effectively and be able to conduct the range of eight tests. Currently, they do half of the required eight tests and for the other tests, they refer patients to other labs,” read the report.
The committee has recommended that the maternity bed capacity be increased, a psychiatrist unit be established, staff salaries be harmonised and a new-born emergency unit be established.