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Uproar after Kitui county government shuts down Kyuso public hospital

Kyuso Sub-county Hospital  was shut down by Kitui county government over alleged insecurity concerns. PHOTO|MT


Residents have raised concerns following the closure of Kyuso Sub-County hospital in Mwingi North Constituency over what county government authorities described as insecurity concerns.

Kitui county ministry of health on Tuesday indefinitely shut down  the hospital citing threats to the casual workers drawn from outside the locality. Through a notice addressed to the staff, the institution’s Medical Superintendent Daniel Musiani said the drastic decision was reached following “threats posed by unknown entities to members of staff working in the hospital.”
“The county ministry of health has decided to close the facility indefinitely pending investigations by law enforcement agencies and ensure safety of all employees working herein,” the notice read in part.

Health ministry Chief Officer Dr. Richard Muthoka was quoted by local radio stations saying the drastic decision was arrived at after leaflets were circulated warning a section of the subordinate staff to vacate the hospital.
But the residents on Wednesday demanded immediate re-opening of the health facility that serves three sub-counties of Kyuso, Mumoni and Tseikuru in the vast northern region of the county.
They rubbished the claims by the county health officials arguing there wasn’t insecurity in the area. The locals instead said the move to close down the health facility was aimed at punishing them after they recently called out the governor Charity Ngilu for neglecting the area and concentrating development on her Kitui Central backyard.   

Nicodemus Muthengi, a local said the hospital closure was unexpected and no sufficient reason was given to warrant it, hence requesting the government to reopen the facility.
"We don't know and have not heard about insecurity in Kyuso. We want the hospital reopened and operational as many people are suffering for no good reason," said a local Mr Nicodemus Muthengi.  

His sentiments were shared by Rose Maluki – a businesswoman in Kyuso town – who downplayed the move by the county government authorities. She expressed fears that the indefinite closure could have been orchestrated by the fact that nearly a fortnight ago the residents raised concerns over the low levels of development recorded in the area since Mrs. Ngilu ascended into reign as the county boss.  
"You can’t let expectant mothers to suffer by closing the only health facility in this area so as to show your political superiority. We want to tell you that even God is watching and you should be wary of the consequences of mistreating his people," Ms Maluki said.

"What exactly do you want from Kyuso?  Please tell us. We are tired! We have given you enough time to change all in vain; we are only waiting for our chance to punish you come 2022,” she tearfully added.

Kyuso market traders chairman Morris Munyoki questioned the hurried manner in which the decision to close the health facility was reached saying the decision was politically motivated and inhuman.   "How can a hospital be closed citing insecurity in a place where cases of lawlessness are unheard of?" posed the market chair.
He further cautioned: "This is a clear evidence of politics and we will not tolerate politics at the expense of people's lives."

The residents said the closure of the sub-county hospital will inconvenience the local population since medics in Mwingi Level IV where the patients from Kyuso had been referred to have boycotted work following a two-month salary delay.

The residents’ uproar came at a time when the Sub-county Security Committee had already rubbished the threats and faulted the move to close down the medical facility.  Deputy County Commissioner for Kyuso Chaunga Mwachaunga said the hospital administration should have requested for security to be deployed in the facility instead.

Area leaders condemned the closure and called on the county government to reconsider their decision and immediately reopen the facility.   Kyuso MCA Stephen Musili said the closure was unwarranted since the move would trigger life threatening consequences to many patients who depend on the facility for daily and routine medical attention.  
"Kyuso is a peaceful area and we wonder how any worker would have been threatened, yet we had only raised concerns the rate of casual workers coming from other areas, a matter we since resolved with the hospital management, we now wonder why the County has over reacted," he said.

The Ward Rep who is also the County Assembly Majority Whip asked the police to apprehend those behind the threatening leaflets that are said to have caused the shutdown of the hospital.  He was echoed by his nominated colleague Munyoki Mwinzi.   

National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) in a press release signed the CEO Hassan Mohamed on Wednesday said had moved in to investigate the threat claims at the hospital.




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