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February 22, 2019

Work on Mama Lucy Hospital block resumes after two years

Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital on September 24 last year / COLLINS KWEYU
Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital on September 24 last year / COLLINS KWEYU

The county has revived construction of the Sh1.1 billion block at overcrowded Mama Lucy Hospital that stalled more than two years ago.

The 700-bed capacity block will include 30 intensive- care and high- dependency units.

The construction of the H-shaped six-floor building started in 2013 but stalled in 2016 due to underfunding by the Ministry of Health. At the time it stalled, 85 per cent of Phase One had been completed. It was to cost Sh141 million and Sh69 million had been pumped into the project.

“Because of the urgency and pressure in this hospital, we are going to complete this wing first. We are projecting 90 days to complete it so that Nairobians can get much needed quality healthcare,” acting Health executive Vesca Kangogo said.

The first phase will have 72 beds, general wards, a maternity wing, an ICU and a HDU. Kangogo visited the hospital with Public Works secretary Alphonse Okweto, who is also the project manager and the contractor.

They said the project stalled after the Ministry stopped releasing funds due to “confusion and problems” during the transition period.

“Health was devolved and you could understand that we had transitional issues, especially for projects initiated by the national government,” Kangogo said.

Okweto said that at the time of transition both the national and county governments wanted to retain it.

“There were competing interests. There were things that we had to do first and others later. So this project was important but not urgent,” he said. He said the contractor will work day and night to complete the work on time.

Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital in populous Embakasi in Eastlands serves low-income earners from Kayole, Mukuru slums, Dandora, Kariobangi and Korogocho slums.

Medical superintendent Musa Mohamed said the facility serves 1,000- 1,200 patients daily.

This high volume has overstretched it. Patients share beds in some wards and lack of drugs and essential supplies have also plagued it. Kangogo said the county has allocated Sh72 million in this financial year to complete Phase One.

“Not only do we have the money to now complete the project, we also have donors willing to join us. MSF are ready and willing to give us ICU and HDU equipment,” she said.

Meanwhile, Kangogo said the county has enhanced security in all its hospitals to protect patients. She said CCTVs have been installed in all facilities and guards have been ordered to be vigilant.

This follows the recent arrest of a woman who attempted to steal a baby at Pumwani Maternity Hospital.

A man was also arrested last week while extorting money from desperate patients on the pretext of helping them get services at Mama Lucy Hospital.

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