February 25th 2018

Opinion / Commentaries

Frequency of fake doctoring at Nakuru Hospital calls for urgent reforms

Quacks are easily finding their way into the pockets of unsuspecting patients, but the big question is, how do these unlicensed crooks work for days on end without being detected by the management of hospitals?

By Sandra Onindosonindo@kenyafreepress.comSaturday, 18 Jun 2016 15:11 EAT

A 33 year old man was arrested on Monday at the Nakuru Level Five hospital, where he has been disguised as a doctor. Prior to his arrest, George Mburu had been maliciously hiding behind the mask of a fully clothed doctor, and had been administering treatment to patients at the hospital for two weeks.

The hospital administration received frequent criticism from patients that doctors in the outpatient and casualty wards were forcing them to pay before receiving services. Mburu allegedly forced patients to pay for services including blood samples yet no one is allowed to hand out money to doctors or nurses in the wards without being issued with payment vouchers.

It was during his routine supervision rounds that the clinical officer in charge, Mr Joseph Kiprotich Keriyo, came across a stranger fully dressed as a doctor and immediately alerted security. Upon arrest, George Mburu identified himself as Geovarious Njuguna, claiming to be a nurse but later contradicting himself, alleging to be a volunteer community health worker.

His details were however lacking in the hospital database, and he failed to prove that he was a licensed health care worker. On further interrogation, the suspect admitted that he had served as a volunteer medical care provider at Kitale Hospital. He is to be charged with impersonation.

This case puts Nakuru Level Five Hospital on the spot once again, following three previous cases of imposters posing as doctors treating patients in the referral facility. In November 2015, the arrest of a con artist, also posing as a nurse in the same hospital was made. Ms Naomi Nyamango was detained for issuing fake employment letters to three desperate youth. Before her arrest, Ms Nyamango had managed to collect more than KSh20,000 from each youth and had issued them with fake appointment letters to various health facilities within the country.

A doctor at the outpatient facility where Mburu was caught, said that overwhelming numbers of patients visit the hospital in dire need of health care, hence they do not question anyone dressed in a white coat. The hospital superintendent, Mr John Murimi, on being contacted, said quacks take advantage of the high numbers of patients and trainees. The administration used the opportunity of Mburu’s arrest to parade around the hospital as doctors.

However, the regularity of these incidents can't be explained by the high patient numbers alone. The Kenyatta National Hospital, the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital and a couple of other public health institutions receive many more patients per year than does Nakuru Level Five but they've never seen such cases. The hospital's staffing, security and administration needs urgent review.

Sandra is a staff writer at the Kenya Free Press specializing in news, health and lifestyle coverage.

Stay Connected