Healthcare Crisis Looming, Warn Kenyan Doctors

by Medindia Content Team on  January 22, 2008 at 12:19 PM General Health News   - G J E 4
Healthcare Crisis Looming, Warn Kenyan Doctors
Kenya could be on the verge of a serious healthcare crisis, its doctors warn.

A relatively stable democracy in the African continent till recently, it is now being racked by election-related violence. The resulting casualties could spark off a major crisis, it is feared.

The demand on the public health services is two-fold - those injured in the strife and those internally displaced and suffering from respiratory complications and diarrhea.

The pressure is so much, hospitals could simply collapse, the Kenyan Medical Association apprehends.

Addressing journalists in Nairobi, Association's chairman Dr Stephen Ochiel, said: "Our public health facilities are not only overstretched, but they are also plagued by lack of drugs, medical supplies and a feeling of insecurity among health workers.

"At the same time, tension and suspicions are rife among workers and patients, which does not augur well."

KMA, he added, condemned the invasion of the Homa Bay district and Moi Referral and Teaching hospitals by armed police who lobbed teargas canisters at patients and workers in the wake of an anti-government demonstration. "We demand that the Internal Security minister and commissioner of police issue a statement on this serious issue," Dr Ochiel said.

The National Nurses Association of Kenya accused police of engaging in "inhuman practices" by using live bullets to disperse protesters.

Jotham Micheni, chief executive of Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) in capital Nairobi said Sunday that since the violence broke out three weeks ago, five people had died.

"A majority of those admitted are suffering from multiple cuts, gunshot wounds, fractures as well as eye, chest and head injuries and two instances of forced circumcision," he said.

"Drug and other medical supplies as well as food are also dwindling, while the hospital has suffered heavy financial losses since we decided to waive hospital bills for all the victims of the violence, most of whom are poor."

Even after treatment, patients don't want to go back home. "They are pleading with us to allow them to stay on till violence subsides," Dr.Micheni said. 

So also workers from the volatile areas of the capital city were camping on the hospital grounds for fear of attacks on their neighbourhoods, he added.

Source: Medindia

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