Kenya's Most Authoritative Political Newspaper

Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 23 November 2014

PATIENTS STERVE AS WEBUYE HOSPITAL GOES TO ICU

Webuye District Hospital has never fallen short of controversies. This time round, the hospital is hitting the headlines again for wrong reasons with reports alleging that patients at the hospital facility went on three-day starvation. Not spared are medics from special clinics which include surgery, pediatrics, hypertension and diabetics.
When this writer visited the hospital, patients were being served with black tea as a result of theft of the hospital’s six cows which were providing milk to the hospital. It is reported that medical superintendent Caesar Beutah who has since been transferred to Nyanza region presided over the selling of the cows and cash disappeared in mysterious circumstances. The dietary issue has since made some patients for opt for early discharge and some are making arrangements of supply of meals from nearby restaurants.
The hospital has since been hit by severe shortage of clinical items  that include antiseptics and gloves which at the time of visit, some nurses, surgeons and cleaners were purchasing at neighbouring chemists from their pocket. Patients blamed it on the hospital’s administrator a one Catherine for sleeping on her job. It is said that she has little knowledge on medical training, so serious that the hospital is now on its deathbed.
There is overcongestion in the wards. The hospital which has a capacity of 280 beds was handling over 500 patients. The situation is however worse and pathetic in the children’s ward with three children sharing one cot.
Reports allege that some time last year during the period when Dr Beutah was in charge Sh2.5million collected at the cash office went missing in mysterious circumstances.
In what was seen as a way of downplaying the fraud syndicate, Beutah denied any knowledge of the loss but admitted that the cash office had failed to trace and account for receipts that were computerised since December 2010.
“Yes, it’s true that there are queries in the cash office whereby there were receipts of payments which could not be identified in the computer but we are still investigating the matter,” he said.
This according to our sources, led to suspension of some staff at the cash office. In another shocking revelation, 14 computers were stolen from the hospital totaling to Sh3.6 million, a fact that Beutah admitted but said the matter was taken to court.
He admitted that the computers which were stolen in April 2012 belonged to the Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare or Ampath department at the hospital. Beutah said the hospital generates Sh160,000 per day.
Back to the starvation of patients, members of the civil society in Bungoma county have threatened to sue the hospital’s management over what they termed an abuse of human rights.
Philip Wekesa, a member of the group, said it is inhuman to keep patients hungry for three days.
“I’m wondering why the hospital management can plot to ruin the health conditions of patients undergoing treatment in a government hospital,” said Wekesa.
He said the organisation with now plans to take the hospital management to court over the alleged rampant theft and sleaze at the hospital.
The hospital is to benefit from Sh 5.6 billion for HIV/AIDS activities in the region.
Health facilities attached to Webuye District Hospital in Bungoma are set to benefit from $74 million to operationalise health activities which include  HIV care, chronic disease management and primary health care.
In a Memorandum of Understanding signed between The Ampath in a joint partnership with the Indiana University School of Medicine, and the ministry of Health, the Webuye District Hospital is among 22 districts across eight counties of Western, Nyanza and North Rift regions to rip from the $ 74 million translating to Sh5.6 billion Usaid supplement grant to expand health care services in Western Kenya.
The MOU which was signed by MOH Bungoma East Ayunga on behalf of the district health management team, Prof Robert Einterz, the associate dean International Affairs of Indiana University School of Medicine on behalf of Usaid-Ampath, vice chancellor Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital Prof Mibey and former PS ministry of  Public  Health  Mark Bor said the supplemental funding will be combined with other private funding to allow for the expansion of the network of clinics to provide more comprehensive care to people in western Kenya.