Beyond the imposing structure that is Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH), there is a special group that has become accustomed to the sounds, sights and smell of these hospital corridors.
This group, although alive, kicking and very well can’t leave the hospital because of accumulated medical bills.
The Nairobian can exclusively reveal that many women, eight of whom we identified, are offering sex for money within the sterile corridors of Kenya’s biggest referral hospital. The women are not hookers, but patients who engage in sex with medics for as little as Sh300.
Disgusted by the blatant disregard of the Hippocratic Oath by medical practitioners, some employees called The Nairobian to report this dark secret within the walls of the hospital.
Our source, a nurse, walks us past the guards as we pose as nurses. We meet Wavinya (not her name), a 32-year-old patient who has been detained over a Sh210,000 bill.
Since August 2014, the woman in a blue dress and red slippers, has managed to raise Sh30,300 and hopes to clear the balance by the end of the year. Wavinya is surely a beauty- what with her neatly combed hair and smooth flawless skin that belie her tired-looking eyes.
Wavinya was deserted by her husband and has now resorted to offering sex for money to clear the hospital bill.
“We had no children. It was my second marriage and we had been married for less than a year. He had not even paid dowry,” she tells us.
After her treatment, her mother who has been to the local MP to seek help in vain, only managed to raise Sh14,000, which unfortunately was not enough to get her discharged.
“I don’t have any relative who can raise that amount. I have to be here until I pay it off,” she says.
Wavinya became close to a doctor, and when she gave in to his advances and slept with him in a consultation room, the medic gave her Sh1,000.
Sex for money
“Every time we had sex, he would give me some money. I shared this with a friend who has also been detained and she told me all medics who sleep with patients usually ‘give them something small,” adds Wavinya, explaining that she is doing it to help pay off her debt.
She calls one of her friends to the corridor where we are and speaks to her in Kamba. Her friend shakes her head and goes back into ward.
“She doesn’t want to speak to you. But many of us here do it. I am not happy because what will my husband do when he knows I am having sex for money?” she poses.
“I want to go back to my marriage. My husband has not come to see me in five months, and I want to go back to my house. If I stay here for long, I might find that he has married another woman,” says Wavinya.
More than 2,500 patients
KNH has a capacity of 1,800 beds and over 6,000 staff. The hospital has 50 wards, 22 outpatient clinics, 26 theatres of which 16 are specialized and 10 are general.
The hospital attends to more than 2,000 inpatients and 2,500 outpatients daily and facilitates clinical and medical research in collaboration with the University of Nairobi School of Health Sciences and the Kenya Medical Training College.
There are guards who ensure no detainees leave the hospital without having cleared their bills. Wavinya and our source pointed out seven other women within their ward, who are known to be offering sex for money to medics.
We have no proof against doctors – Union
According to Mercy Korir, the Deputy Secretary General of the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union, such incidents can only be dealt with once the union gets substantive proof that one of their members is having sex with patients.
“In Kenyatta, anyone with a lab coat is called doctor, and right now, we have no proof that it’s actually doctors who are doing that. The hospital has so many other professionals who wear lab coats. KNH also has its own legal mechanisms to follow to discipline any errant member of its work force.
No proof yet
As a union, there is nothing we can do without proof. But should such evidence be presented, then we will find a way of dealing with the situation,” she told The Nairobian.
When contacted, KNH’s Corporate Affairs Manager, Kibet Mang’ich, said he could not comment on such a weighty matter.
“Mambo kama hayo siwezi yaongelea, unafaa uje tukae chini na pia uongee na CEO (I cannot comment on such matters. We’ll need to sit down and talk and also consult the CEO),” he said, adding that, “Why do you investigate such things without involving the managers and only seek our opinion after you are done?”
Kibet, who had earlier revealed that patients owe the institution in excess of Sh3 billion, said the figure is not about to go down anytime soon.
“That amount has been piling up for a long time and when patients are treated and don’t pay, that bill will increase.”
Two years ago, KNH had detained up to 300 patients for nonpayment of bills, a figure Kibet disputes.
“The number has gone down tremendously due to free maternity services offered by the government. The figure isn’t that high,” he explained.