The ailing health sector in Kilifi county has continually been felt with patients in some of the public hospitals in the county being forced to share beds.
This problem is rampant at three main hospitals that include the Kilifi County Referral Hospital, the Malindi and the Mariakani Sub County hospitals where patients also suffer from a lack of enough drugs forcing them to buy from private pharmacies.
Speaking to K24 Digital, Margaret Kilalo a resident there whose patient was referred to the Malindi Sub County hospital from the Mariakani Sub County hospital says that the lack of equipment and critical health care at the public hospitals has made medication costly for many residents.
She says it is even worse because despite her patients being referred, she still has to get dialysis services in private clinics within Malindi town yet her patient is admitted to the Malindi Sub County hospital.
“My appeal is that our governor is to look at the Mariakani hospital because we were referred here for dialysis but the problem is that there are services that are not here forcing us to seek them outside which cost us Ksh 3,000 after every two days without adding the cost of transport,” she says.
She adds that sharing of beds is also aggravating the situation since some beds are small in size.
Her sentiments were echoed by Mrs Esther Kadzo who appeals for more beds and wards in the hospital.
“My neighbour fell from the bed at night because she was unable to turn since they are sharing beds, more beds should be added,” she says.
The hospital's Medical Superintendent Job Gayo acknowledges the challenges saying that it is not practicable to send a patient home because the beds are few.
“We can’t send an inpatient patient home yet they need closer supervision that is why we are forced to make use of the limited resources. I call upon the Governor to help construct more wards so that our patients do not share beds,” he says.
He also adds that digitization of hospital records is needed since the manual system is very slow and outdated adding that in the digital system, what a patient will need is only the registration number hence reducing the cost of buying books.
“What makes us refer patients to Mombasa and other places is the lack of equipment such as Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and CT scan and we also have an acute shortage of staff,” he says.
The hospital also faces challenges of inadequate drugs for critical diseases that force doctors to prescribe the drugs for patients to go and buy.
“We have 95 per cent of drugs and the only problem we face are drugs meant for critical medical cases which have few patients and this is what we prescribe and send them to buy but we apologize to the public for that,” he adds.
During a tour of the facility on Friday, Governor Gideon Mung’aro said that his administration will address the shortcomings by providing enough drugs and equipment.
He also said that poor patients with medical bills will be discharged after a thorough scrutiny of their family background.
“Those patients with bills but not able to clear them will be released after scrutiny from their areas so that we ensure only the poor ones benefit,” he said.