TO REDUCE BURDEN ON FAMILIES

Transfer KNH patients to Othaya hospital, Mt Kenya residents urged

Official says move part of the plan to decongest the national referral facility in Nairobi

In Summary

KNH board member Stanley Kamau says they will allow families with patients who are not critically ill to move them to the Othaya Teaching and Referral Hospital in Nyeri

Stanley Kamau (standing) talks to a patient during a free medical camp at Kiria-ini Catholic Church in Mathioya, Murang'a county, on Friday, February 7, 2020
CREATING AWARENESS: Stanley Kamau (standing) talks to a patient during a free medical camp at Kiria-ini Catholic Church in Mathioya, Murang'a county, on Friday, February 7, 2020
Image: ALICE WAITHERA

 @Alicewangechi

 

Mt Kenya patients wh require referrals will no longer be taken to Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi but will instead receive treatment at the Othaya Teaching and Referral Hospital.

At the same time, residents have been asked to transfer their patients from KNH to the newly opened hospital in Nyeri county.

KNH board member Stanley Kamau on Friday said transferring the patients will decongest KNH and make it easier for families to visit the sick.

Kamau said the KNH board will allow families with patients who are not critically ill to move them to the Othaya hospital. 

“This will make it easy for families in the region to check up on their patients due to the close proximity of the hospital,” Kamau said.

The Sh1 billion Othaya Teaching and Referral Hospital was opened in August last year. It has a 350-bed capacity and is managed by the KNH board.

There were about 600 staff at the hospital at the time of opening and Kamau said the board hopes to have it operate at full capacity by June.

He said the facility has the personnel and equipment to offer all services required in a referral hospital.

Kamau said the board has embarked on creating awareness about the hospital and the services it offers through free medical camps.

He was speaking during a free medical camp at Kiria-ini Catholic Church in Mathioya constituency, Murang'a county. Kamau said many people were yet to know about the Othaya hospital.

He said KNH has allocated sufficient funds for the medical camps to be held in most of Mt Kenya counties.  Six medical camps have already been conducted in Nyeri.

“Our aim is to decongest KNH while taking referral services closer to the people. All this is part of the Universal Health Coverage that aims at ensuring as many Kenyans access basic medical care,” Kamau said.

Kamau said the hospital will employ casual workers from Nyeri county so locals can benefit from the job opportunities.

He urged Kenyans to ensure they register with the National Health Insurance Fund to access medical services without financial burden.

National Assembly Health Committee chairperson Sabina Chege said there are plans to have the hospital officially opened by the President.

The hospital, she said, has a wide variety of specialists and more are being employed.

“We came to tell people that they no longer have to travel to Nairobi to access medical services at KNH,” Chege said.

The MP said they were also using the medical camps to sensitise people on the need to seek early treatment and exercise proper nutrition.

The Murang’a woman representative said cases of non-communicable diseases that can be controlled through proper nutrition were rising

She cited self-treatment as another huge health challenge, saying patients were buying drugs from pharmacies without the prescription of doctors.

“I want to ask Kenyans to stop treating themselves. You are not a doctor and I know pharmacies are in business but we are coming very hard on them,” Chege said.

She said some countries have strict laws that prohibit the sale of drugs without the prescription of doctors, "but locally, almost all drugs are freely sold."

"Some patients then abuse the drugs and become dependent on them, ruining their lives," she said.

Stella Githaiga, a doctor at KNH, said Murang’a is one of the counties with a high number of cases of diabetes and hypertension.

She said women in the reproductive age were screened for cervical cancer and patients referred to Othaya hospital. Over 500 patients were treated.

 

edited by peter obuya

KNH doctors treating patients during a free medical camp at Kiria-ini Catholic church in Mathioya, Murang'a county, on Friday.
KNH doctors treating patients during a free medical camp at Kiria-ini Catholic church in Mathioya, Murang'a county, on Friday.
Image: Alice Waithera