Mr Sonko, Pumwani is a superb hospital
3 months ago, 22 Sep 11:32
After swallowing theatrics by Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko hook, line and sinker, let us revisit the Pumwani Maternity Hospital drama and put a finger on the pulse: calling out Sonko’s failed leadership for what it is.
Kenyans were fascinated by a group of professionals pouring out their hearts to their leadership, faulting hospital management for their woes and thinking that Sonko, a combat-clad leader, would combat their problems for a solution that will make them the envy of their counterparts.
Almost in the same breath, Kenyans were shocked by a supposed discovery of 12 newborn bodies ‘hidden’ at Pumwani under unclear circumstances. After shock, Kenyans were enraged, pointing fingers at the same professionals whose backs are almost broken for carrying the failures of an incompetent system.
The problems in health sector can be narrowed down to two major areas; first is in leadership and governance, second is health financing, which in the long run boils down to leadership and governance in the health system as a whole.
For Governor Sonko to show up and feign ignorance about the workings of a key health facility in his jurisdiction, is not only unfortunate, but also tragic for the poor Nairobians he represents.
Pumwani Maternity was built by the Lady Grigg Welfare League in 1926 in pre-colonial Kenya. Even over 50 years after Kenya’s independence in 1963, none of the governments before and now bothered to equip it with either a cold room or a mortuary, yet it’s the biggest maternity referral hospital in Kenya. Oversight? Your guess is as good as mine.
The hospital has a bed capacity of 150 baby cots and 10 incubators. Out of its three operating rooms, only two are functional. In 1969 when founding president Mzee Jomo Kenyatta officially opened it, Pumwani had 117 beds with a 50 bed unit for new-borns.
As Nairobi’s population soared, the bed capacity increased, but not many its facilities were upgraded and hence the recent revelation that it has no mortuary or cold room for proper handling of bodies. This was not news to hospital staff and the county, but to everyone else, it shook the airwaves.
Pumwani hospital sees not less than 1,000 mothers admitted into labour ward every month. An admission of 160 mothers was the lowest in July 2017, possibly due to the nurses’ strike. After that, admissions have peaked, to a high of 1779 in May 2018.
The hospital’s bed occupancy is on average about 90 percent at any given time. The average duration of stay after delivery is seven days after caesarean delivery and two days for normal delivery. Two out of every 10 mothers in Pumwani deliver via caesarean section, the beds occupied by mothers after CS therefore may not be significant to deny others space.
Newborns admitted in the nursery stay for an average of seven days. This by any standards is a good turnaround time for a facility that is purely for maternity and new-borns, especially some referred in critical conditions. The bed occupancy in Kenyatta National Hospital nursery in comparison is at ...
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