The health sector in Kilifi County is ailing.
Patients in most public health facilities still share beds despite the health department receiving a big share of the county budget for the last ten years.
Sharing of beds is rampant in the Kilifi County Referral Hospital, the Malindi and the Mariakani Sub County hospitals.
Besides sharing of beds, lack of enough pharmaceuticals has been another challenge.
Patients have to buy most drugs from private chemists.
Margaret Kilalo who has a patient at the Malindi Sub County hospital on referral from the Mariakani Sub County hospital says that lack of critical care equipment in public hospitals has made healthcare a costly affair for many residents.
Kilalo said it is even worse because despite her patients being on referral, she still has to get dialysis services in private clinics within Malindi town.
“Our governor should also look at the Mariakani hospital because we were referred here for dialysis but the problem is that there are services that are not offered here forcing us to seek them outside which cost us Sh. 3,000 after every two days without adding the cost of transport,” she says.
According to Kilalo, some patients fall on the floor at night due to the small size of the beds.
Esther Kadzo, another patient at the facility appealed for more beds and wards in the hospital.
“A patient whose bed is next to mine 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 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He also adds that digitization of hospital records is needed since the paper based system is very slow and outdated adding that in the digital system, what a patient will need is only the registration number hence reducing the cost of buying books.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 if we get them I am very sure you will not hear us sending patients for referrals and we also have an acute shortage of staff,” he says.
The hospital also faces challenges of inadequate drugs for critical diseases that forces 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 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.