• The sector has been grappling with myriad challenges ranging from influx of patients from neighbouring counties, inadequate medical personnel to a shortage of drugs—which jointly undermine services.
• The county further plans to build a central medical store in Ruiru where all procured drugs will be stored before distribution to hospitals.
The Kiambu government has prioritised the improvement of health facilities to promote quality care.
It is equipping hospitals and improving infrastructure to ensure residents and visitors get proper services. The sector has been grappling with myriad challenges ranging from influx of patients from neighbouring counties, inadequate medical personnel to a shortage of drugs—which jointly undermine services.
Since Governor James Nyoro was sworn in in 2019, the county has completed several new hospitals and others are under construction. He has put a premium on equipping and upgrading health centres to end the influx of patients into level 4 and 5 hospitals.
According to the county government, after Covid-19 set in early last year, the Health department moved fast to put in place isolation wards. It then set up more intensive care unit beds.
Kiambu Level 5 Hospital only had five ICU beds before Covid; it now has five additional beds, with piped oxygen installed.
“Unfortunately, we have in the past witnessed patients die as we try to get ICU beds from other hospitals. We have never had piped oxygen. The piped oxygen is not only available in the ICU ward but also other wards as well. The ICU has 10 beds, with critical care nurses and clinical officers ready to work,” said Priscilla Wangari, a nurse at the facility.
Wangari said that previously, they were overwhelmed as patients from Kiambu, Nairobi, Machakos and Murang'a flocked to the hospital, especially given the shortage of ICU beds.
The county government is in the process of upgrading its ICU capacity in Tigoni and other hospitals to 50 beds. Tigoni will have 14, Kiambu 10, Thika 10 and Gatundu 16.
All level-5 hospitals and the Covid-19 treatment centre in Tigoni have installed oxygen. The county has also received 20 ventilators from the United States to help in combating the virus.
Nyoro said the ventilators have come with a one-year service contract to ensure any technical problem is immediately fixed, especially during this pandemic.
“The ventilators will go a long way in enhancing health service delivery. Partnerships with the private sector have helped in the fight against Covid-19,” the county chief said.
At Ruiru Level 4 Hospital, the county government has put up a new 150-bed isolation centre worth Sh65 million using prefabricated technology. The Health department is ready to deploy enough personnel at the facility.
The county further plans to build a central medical store in Ruiru where all procured drugs will be stored before distribution to hospitals.
Early last year, Nyoro signed a universal health coverage (UHC) partnership with the national government. He said neighbouring counties would complement their strategy if they followed suit, hence improving lower-level facilities and reducing patient influx into referral hospitals.
“We are hoping that neighbouring counties like Nairobi, Murang'a, Nyandarua and others are going to sign the UHC so we can have a unified way of tackling some of these health problems because these problems do not know boundaries,” Nyoro said.
Last year, he commissioned a Sh465 million Medically Assisted Therapy clinic at Karuri Level 4 Hospital in Kiambu constituency. It was established by Medicine Sans Frontiers from Belgium in partnership with the county government, LVCT Health and the National Aids and STIs Programme.
The clinic is meant to counter the problem of drug and alcohol abuse by providing a holistic approach to fixing the menace.
Kiambu has also partnered with the private sector and outsourced ambulance services from the Kenya Red Cross. This has led to a decline in the emergency response time to about 25 minutes.
Edited by F'Orieny