Meru has started constructing a Sh15 million building to house renal and ICU units at its level 5 hospital to cater for patients from the region.
Most patients from Isiolo, Tharaka Nithi and Meru counties are often referred to Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi due to lack of dialysis services.
Meru Level 5 Hospital CEO James Kirimi on Wednesday said the construction of the the two-storey building is expected to be complete by March.
The installation of equipment at the renal and ICU units will be complete by June. The renal unit will have 15 beds while the ICU will have 10.
The renal unit will be n the ground floor with the ICU on the first floor.
Kirimi said the project will ease the suffering of most patients who are often referred to Nairobi.
"We are forced to refer three to five patients every month to Nairobi for specialised treatment due to lack of these facilities," Kirimi said.
Dialysis is a very expensive treatment and Kirimi asked residents to enroll for medical cover.
He said the MRI services launched by Governor Kiraitu Murungi last year is fully operational with the services fully covered by the National Hospital Insurance Fund.
"We know patients go through difficulties when referred for dialysis, considering the three sessions to undergo in a week. One session costs between Sh10,000 and 15,000," Kirimi said.
The project is a partnership of the county government, the national government and Philips.
Speaking during an inspection tour of the project, health executive Misheck Mutuma said the county was committed to improving healthcare for residents.
He said they were also inspecting services in other health facilities to ensure efficiency.
“We're working to streamline personnel and other issues that hinder smooth services," Mutuma said.
He urged patients with minor illnesses to seek services from level 4 health facilities to minimise pressure on the Meru Level 5 Hospital.
In November last year, MCAs accused the pharmacy department of graft which they blamed for the poor health services.
The health committee found that the Meru Teaching and Referral Hospital was inefficient, lacked specialists and had dysfunctional equipment.
The team led by Martin Kiongozi presented its report after a seven-month investigation.
In September, Kiraitu warned workers against stealing drugs or colluding with private chemists to exploit patients. He said culprits would be fired and prosecuted.
“They seek to enrich themselves. We’ll have zero tolerance for dishonest and corrupt staff,” Kiraitu said.
The assembly committee also found that the referral hospital has myriad challenges, including a large number of patients, defective renal dialysis equipment, a dysfunctional ICU that can hold only three beds, and shortage of drugs.
The report indicts pharmacy department officers for colluding with private chemists to refer patients to buy medicine, even when the facility has the prescribed medication.
“The committee red-handedly witnessed a patient being told to buy plaster of Paris from outside the hospital, despite the fact that the hospital had it in the pharmacy,” the report says.