The Sh1 billion Othaya Hospital that had stalled for seven years — and was considered a white elephant project — has finally been equipped and is to start operations in two weeks.
Health PS Peter Tum on Tuesday said the 350-bed facility will be renamed Mwai Kibaki Teaching and Referral Hospital in honour of the former President. It will be upgraded to a level 6 hospital and its management taken over by the national government.
The building of the hospital was started by Mwai Kibaki who also served as the Othaya MP at the time. Construction stalled after he retired in early 2013.
Tum spoke when he led Nyeri governor Mutahi Kahiga and MP Gichuki Mugambi in an inaugural tour of the facility.
The PS said the hospital will specialise in the treatment of non-communicable diseases.
“We have come up with a small team to operationalise the hospitalin two weeks,” Tum said.
He said the national government will hire personnel to provide services. The hospital has all thre required equipment.
Mugambi thanked the national government for the completing the facility. “We know it has pumped in a lot of resources and this hospital will play a big role in delivering the universal healthcare agenda,” Mugambi said.
He said the hospital is well-equipped in the operating theatre, theatre, ICU, renal unit and the maternity wing.
Kahiga said the county will continue running the Othaya Level 4 Hospital.
“I’m excited that we shall be able to offer better services to the people of Nyeri,” the governor said.
Mutahi said counties do not have adequate funds to run hospitals. “We must be forthright and admit that the funds we have are not adequate to run our hospitals as they should be run,” he said.
Phase two of the hospital’s contruction will include a mortuary wing, kitchen and other facilities.
Kahiga said the Dedan Kimathi University of Technology will partner with the facility and use it as their teaching hospital.
Tum said the government has hired at least 50 nurses and 12 specialists. Another 300 nurses to be added when it is fully operational.
Equipment, medicine and pharmaceuticals were delivered in March while facilities at the renal and maternity wings have been installed.
In July last year, President Uhuru Kenyatta postponed the opening of the hospital because it was unfinished.
The opening has been postponed five times and at one point the hospital was considered a white elephant project. The completion of the 350-bed hospital comes as a big relief to residents.