KENYA: Maternity Hospital Working Conditions ‘deplorable’

A go-slow by nurses at Pumwani Maternity Hospital in Nairobi’s Eastleigh area has exposed serious challenges at Kenya’s largest maternity hospital, with officials calling for urgent intervention to improve services.

“Working conditions at the hospital remain deplorable,” Festus Ngare, secretary-general of the Kenya Local Government Workers’ Union, which represents the nurses, told IRIN on 17 March. “Although we have reached agreement with the hospital’s management on some of the issues and others are still pending, the working environment at the hospital is a major concern for all.”

The 180 nurses at the hospital staged the go-slow on 16 March to protest at being overworked and the withholding of their uniform and other allowances by the hospital’s management.

Ngare said: “As a matter of urgency, the [Nairobi City] Council should have not less than 30 doctors and not less than 100 nurses posted to the hospital immediately to help ease the workload. At the moment, some nurses find that after working a 6pm to 8am shift, there is no one to relieve them. They find themselves working for many more hours and this is not only a danger to the mothers and their newborn babies but a danger to the nurse herself.”

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