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Vihiga's strides in primary healthcare

CT scan, Cardiac Unit and amenity ward among the health infrastructure set up

In Summary

• Changes in last three years have eased the accessibility of essential services

Vihiga Deputy Governor Patrick Saisi in bed at the amenity ward after visiting the new private wards at Mbale hospital. He is with Governor Wilber Ottichillo and minority leader Tom Atingo
Vihiga Deputy Governor Patrick Saisi in bed at the amenity ward after visiting the new private wards at Mbale hospital. He is with Governor Wilber Ottichillo and minority leader Tom Atingo
Image: MARTIN OMBIMA

The primary healthcare in Vihiga county has undergone tremendous transformations in the last three years that have eased accessibility of essential services, while ensuring affordability by residents.

Since Independence, residents of Vihiga have had to travel to neighbouring counties within Western and beyond to access critical services, such as CT scan, dental services, cardiovascular and renal services.

In 2019, the county government, under the stewardship of Governor Wilber Ottichilo, installed a 32-slide CT Scan machine at the Vihiga County Hospital in Mbale. Statistics at the health department show 900 people have since accessed the services at affordable rates.

 

The county has also established the first Cardiac Unit to address cardiovascular Diseases (CDVs), which remain the number one cause of death globally, with some 17.9 million dying annually, according to the World Health Organisation.

Victor Wetende, the county director of communication, says, “Due to the many deaths from heart-related complications, the government launched a Cardiac Clinic in September 2018 during the World Heart Day that will go a long way in reducing such deaths.”

The clinic has since offered services to more than 3,000 patients under Dr Ibet Riviera, a cardiologist who serves not only Vihiga but the entire former Western province.

Riviera is one of the Cuban doctors brought into the country by the national government. Each county received two specialists.

The county also boasts of a dental clinic launched in September last year in three hospitals in all the five sub-counties in county, namely Luanda, Emuhaya, Sabatia, Hamisi and Vihiga.

Also realised in the county in the past three years is the establishment of a second fully fledged theatre opened at Emuhaya Subcounty Hospital last year to ease traffic at the Mbale general hospital, and a 14-bed amenity ward that was opened at the county general hospital available to patients who require private and specialised care.

The country will soon be self-sufficient in blood requirements once a Satellite Blood Transfusion Centre under construction is complete.

 

It will help in the collection of some 1,200 pints of blood per month, which is the consumption rate in the county. The blood bank will not only serve the county but also neighbouring counties, which have been relying on the Blood Transfusion Centre in Kisumu in the event of shortages.