Kinyuru Munuhe and Mercy Salisi @PeopleDailyke
Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has been thrust into the centre of the deep-seated rot at the troubled Pumwani Maternity Hospital whose woes are compounded by inadequate financing and poor management.
After a visit of the facility, Senate committees on Health, Security and Devolution resolved to summon the governor, county health executive and chief officer and Pumwani Medical Superintendent to shed light on the medical crisis.
And as the Senate committees laid blame on Sonko for the woes at the hospital, it emerged that Nairobi County Assembly Minority Whip Peter Imwatok had already set in a motion to impeach the governor.
The motion was first introduced on the floor of the Assembly by the Makongeni Ward Representative during a special sitting on September 6.
According to Imwatok, the 14-day ultimatum given to the governor to present the name of a nominee for the position of Deputy Governor is soon elapsing, adding that the opposition will pursue it to the end.
“The things the governor is doing are uncalled for. He is on the verge of leading the county into a crisis. We are ready to use Article 181 of the Constitution to remove him,” he said. Imwatok, who is the Minority Whip, claimed foul play by the governor saying:
“We want to request the DCI to step in and unearth the rot. Pumwani has accounted for 10 bodies. Deaths that were recorded between Wednesday and Monday morning. What is the source of the 11th body? How come the governor came in after it had been delivered for proper disposal?”
Addressing the press yesterday at the hospital, the Senate committees also threatened to have the maternity facility taken over by the National government if the lives of infants and mothers cannot be guaranteed.
The combined committees are planning to grill the Nairobi county leadership over allegations of baby trafficking in Pumwani, budgetary allocations against deliverables achieved on health sector, breakdown in provision of technical support services and victimisation of employees.
“Today we made a visit to Pumwani Maternity Hospital. This is purely a management issue. We have spoken to some of the patients, we have spoken to the leadership here. The quality of healthcare we are giving our mothers and sisters in this hospital is completely wanting. We will do an inquiry in the Senate to ensure the people of Nairobi get quality service,” said Nairobi Senator Johnstone Sakaja, who is also the vice chair of the Senate Security committee.
He said Nairobi County got Sh15.8 billion allocation this year and should be spent prudently alongside the revenue generated.
The Senate committees are also keen to know the Pumwani Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that allow dead babies to be received at the facility from other hospitals or even from homes for proper disposal that could potentially compromise security to aide swapping and trafficking of babies from the hospital.
Chairman of the Senate Health committee, Michael Mbito, said governors must be proactive since money is allocated but there is little to show for it.
“We are just from the maternity wing. There are three machines but one is new and cannot be used due to the way the place is. Four babies are kept in one incubator full of rust,” said Nominated Senator Beatrice Kwamboka.
Acting Medical Superintendent Beth Maina said the holding room is only used for babies and not adults.
Yesterday, Sonko sent two 10-capacity morgue body coolers to be kept in the holding area hours after the Senators visit.
However, provision of transport services to the morgue and even of referral cases involving patients are among the technical support services yet to be addressed.