• On paper, City Hall had 3,300 health workers when the health service was handed over to NMS in March, but the actual number was 2,750.
• The NMS has designated Mama Lucy and South B Level 3 hospitals as Covid- 19 isolation centres.
The Nairobi Metropolitan Services has ramped its preparedness to deal with Covid-19 as the number of of positive cases continues to soar in the capital.
As of May 30, 2020 Nairobi led with 997 Covid-19 positive cases followed by Mombasa with 534.
The NMS has, through the Public Service Commission, recruited 225 health workers after President Uhuru Kenyatta announced last month that an additional 5,000 personnel will be hired as the country intensifies the battle against the pandemic.
Last Friday, NMS director for Health Services Josephine Kibaru Mbae told the Star in an interview that the recruited cadres were doctors, nurses and clinical officers. They will serve on three-year contracts.
“When we took over from City Hall we noted that there was indeed a shortage of health workers and many hospital relied on locum. We had to recruit more. The NMS has come up with a distribution plan so that once they get the appointment letters they know where to report,” Mbae said.
It was indicated that City Hall had 3,300 health workers inclusive of cleaners and drivers when the health service was handed over to NMS in March. However, the actual number was 2,750.
The NMS has designated Mama Lucy and South B Level 3 hospitals as Covid- 19 isolation centres. The Mbagathi isolation unit is managed by the Kenyatta National Hospital.
At the time of the hand-over, health workers had threatened to go on strike over issues like promotion and redesignation that remained unaddressed by the County Public Service Board.
The NMS has factored the concerns in its financial year 2020-21 plans and expects to address them conclusively.
Mbae said they had distributed personal protective equipment worth Sh120 million to health workers.
“The distribution was done on need basis and the health workers are stationed. All workers can access at least two three-ply masks every day, depending on where they are stationed,” according to Mbae.
Meanwhile, health facilities remain open to city residents. They have enough drugs. The last distribution of drugs worth Sh173.48 million was in March.
“The facilities have adequate drugs and we are in the process of doing another distribution between now and June 30th so that our health facilities have adequate drugs before the closure of the financial year,” Mbae said.
The NMS has at the same time has set up 1,633 water points in the city's informal settlements to forestall the spread of coronavirus, director-general Mohammed Badi said on Saturday.
Kibera has 1,185, Mathare 60 and Mukuru kwa Njenga 388. “NMS has also set up at least 1,200 handwashing stations in various strategic locations like Kibra, Mathare, Mukuru and Korogocho to ensure access to sanitation. Out of that number, 506 have been installed due to Covid-29," Badi said.
Already, 15,000 kilometres of sewer drains have been disinfected. Another 100,000km are targeted in the informal settlements.
The NMS director-general said they will ensure equitable supply of water in unserved areas by drilling 50 boreholes in collaboration with the national government.
Already, 15 of the boreholes have been completed and handed over to Athi Water. They are at Waithaka Health Centre, Silanga community ground, Kibra DC’s office, Southlands Kijiji, Mukuru kwa Njenga Primary School, Mukuru chief's camp and Utawala market.
The Rapid Deployment Unit in Embakasi has dug boreholes at Chemichemi Community School, Kamulu Police Station, Kabiria chief's camp, Riruta Primary School, Matopeni Police Post, Kayole Police Station and Dandora Phase 4 Police Station.
“The completed boreholes have elevated steel water tanks. Residents fetch domestic water in 20-litre jerricans at designated distribution points. The drilling of the other 35 boreholes is ongoing,” Badi said.
The NMS is closely monitoring progress on the repair of water supply mains from Sasumua Dam and Karemenu River which supplies Ng'ethu water treatment plant.
The two were ruined early last month by landslides, leaving most city estates with dry taps.
“Intensification of free water distribution in informal settlements by use of water bowsers is also ongoing as well as in regions adversely impacted by the landslides,” Badi said
- mwaniki fm.