Kisii Level 5 Hospital, in Kisii County in Western Kenya, is no exception.
But thanks to the recent introduction of sophisticated digital security gadgets, the patients and their relatives and friends are now heaving a sigh of relief.
Big brother is watching every room and corner of the biggest and busiest hospital in Southern Nyanza.
The CCTV cameras were strategically installed in all the facility’s wards, walk ways, stores and parking lot.
“These cameras have really helped us, we used to come here and wait for ages on the queue, especially the customer care desk was very poorly manned. I am now happy; I get attended to very fast and effectively,” says Lilian Nyaboke, a mother of three who is in her late 20s.
Nyaboke’s home is a quite far from the hospital and like other patients, were seriously inconvenienced by the poor service and lethargy by the medical staff.
“I come from very far, and you can I imagine if I get poor customer care here, who will take care of my children at home? How will I get back if it gets dark? Thank God we now have these security gadgets to ensure we get good service.”
She recalls that every time she takes her baby for clinic, she is served promptly, she is also provided with the necessary medicines in record time.
Nyaboke recalls that before the CCTV cameras were installed, it was very bad, she could spend the whole day there with her baby clutched in her arms and yelling for food.”
On her part, Mary Okundi, 43, who is a mother of six, echoes similar sentiments saying: ,”I am happy, I get all the drugs I need, sometime back I was conned money by a stranger on the waiting bay, she pretended to be a nurse, and I parted withShs500 , which she said would help her get medicine, immediately I gave her, she pretended that she was going to one of the offices but walked through and disappeared in thin air!”
When contacted, Dr Enock Ondari, Medical Superintendent at the hospital, says that as management, they have also benefitted immensely from the CCTV services.
Says the official: “We used to have many cases of patients being neglected by health workers; some could come to my office and complain they had stayed on queues for very long and unattended. Maternal Child Health Clinics were chaotic, babies yelling and crying because of delay from some staff members was common.”
Some mothers travelled from very far and on reaching the facility, they found long queues were forced to return unattended to their homes.
In case it was a day reserved for vaccines, the baby would miss the vital drugs.
Since the gadgets were introduced, Dr Ondari monitors them closely from the comfort of his office’s main server.
“Everything that is happening in the hospital is recorded, we recently had a case where a doctor was bribed with Shs2000 by a patient, and another one was of a staff from the stores who stole a gas cylinder. We were able to handle all these cases because of the tangible footage that was available. We used to lose millions of shillings through such kinds of crime that impacted our patients badly,” the superintendent says with pride.
The Kenya Demographic and Health Survey (2008 -2009) reveals that socio-economic factors that are related to obtaining quality antenatal care affects a woman’s level of attending the maternal health clinic.
A woman who gets a good conducive environment and is offering quality service is in a position attend clinic regularly, this reduces chances of complication which could be detected early during pregnancy.
The study further shows how vaccines are important, for example Tetanus Toxoid Injection, which is among leading causes of neonatal deaths in developing countries, where a high number of deliveries are conducted at home or in places where hygiene conditions are below par.
Dr Ondari is happy with the CCTV saying they have boosted service delivery and customer satisfaction. The number of complaints by patients and cases of drug-thefts by staff has reduced drastically.
”We installed this equipment in 2013, at a cost of 2 million, and it has been worth the cost. We have saved very many lives and we are happy as a hospital that we made the right decision to invest in this technology,” the official says.
This article was originally published in the Reject Newspaper Issue 96