What you need to know:
- The initiative will see 94 hospitals across the country being equipped with an intensive care unit, a dialysis centre, chemotherapy equipment for cancer diagnosis and treatment and surgery.
- An impressed President Kenyatta said some facilities there were better than those at Kenyatta National Hospital, the country’s biggest referral hospital.
- “Today I met a patient, who for two years moved to Kibera to access dialysis twice a week at Kenyatta National Hospital but now he is getting the service back home. That is what devolution means,” said the President.
A sculpture of a mother holding a healthy baby greets you at the entrance of the refurbished Machakos Level 5 Hospital administration block.
At the base of the sculpture is an inscription that, at a glance, strikes you as superfluous as it reads: “Upgrading Machakos Level 5 Hospital into a ultra-modern hospital.”
However, the skepticism soon tyturns to awe as you tour the hospital with its sparkling clean floors and shiny new equipment.
The refurbished Machakos Level 5 Hospital, which was commissioned by President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday, is way ahead of its class in health-care facilities in the country.
An impressed President Kenyatta said some facilities there were better than those at Kenyatta National Hospital, the country’s biggest referral hospital.
“They say we are not working but this hospital clearly disproves this. This was not built in the sky, it is real. The theatre is even better than those at Kenyatta Hospital,” he said.
All this has been made possible by the sophisticated equipment that the national government has supplied to the county that includes an electrosurgical unit, operating tables with orthopaedic extensions and mammography machines, among others.
A 10-bed dialysis centre for renal patients and an Intensive Care Unit are also now in place.
“Today I met a patient, who for two years moved to Kibera to access dialysis twice a week at Kenyatta National Hospital but now he is getting the service back home. That is what devolution means,” said the President.
Health Cabinet Secretary James Macharia aptly captured the mood: “Today is a dream come true. This is what we have been looking for, to transform health care and save lives.”
Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua said the county was hiring more staff.
“To enhance health-care provision in the county, we will soon advertise for 200 nurses, 50 medical officers, 20 consultants, 50 clinical officers, 20 lab technicians, 15 radiologists and five anaesthetists,” Dr Mutua said.
The initiative will see 94 hospitals across the country being equipped with an intensive care unit, a dialysis centre, chemotherapy equipment for cancer diagnosis and treatment and surgery.
TERMS OF PROVISION
Meanwhile, governors who initially rejected the Sh38 billion equipment have started accepting it after the national government cleared the air on the terms of its provision.
The governors said they had been concerned that the equipment was to be leased to the counties.
However, those who spoke to the Nation yesterday said the government had dropped the leasing terms.
The governors also said the national government had assured them it was not using the equipment as a ploy to regain control of the health sector.
Governors Isaac Ruto (Bomet), Paul Chepkwony (Kericho) and Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega) are among those who have accepted the equipment.
Deputy President William Ruto had earlier dismissed claims that the government expected the counties to pay.
“At no time did we say that. When you are in a position of leadership, don’t use it to mislead people by telling lies,” said Mr Ruto.
Contracts signed with five multinational healthcare companies will see them supply, install, operate and maintain the equipment.
And yesterday, Council of Governors Chairman Peter Munya said improved healthcare was one of the major successes of devolution.
Mr Munya said service in a majority of hospitals, especially in his county, was now more efficient.
Speaking at the Meru Technical Training Institute where First Lady Margaret Kenyatta donated the 28th mobile clinic under her took her Beyond Zero campaign, the Meru governor said there had been tremendous achievements in the sector in the last two years.
“For instance in Meru, about 40 per cent of our budget goes to healthcare. It is for you to judge if health has done better under devolution compared to the last 50 years,” Mr Munya said.
He said it was important for the national and county governments to work together if Kenyans are to benefit from devolution.
There have been numerous wrangles between health workers and county governments over the management of the crucial function.