What you need to know:
- This happened as health experts in the region revealed that oxygen supply has become a key challenge for hospitals.
A Covid-19 patient died while waiting to get a bed at the Kakamega County Teaching and Referral Hospital isolation centre, the Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB) revealed on Thursday.
This happened as health experts in the region revealed that oxygen supply has become a key challenge for hospitals.
In Kisumu County, 88 deaths have been recorded in June alone, according to the LREB Health Pillar Director Rosemary Obara. Kakamega has recorded 24 deaths, Homa Bay County (10), Kericho (23), Bomet (12) and seven in Busia, in the same period.
Dr Obara also revealed that the LREB Health committee has embarked on a rapid assessment of health facilities in the region to take stock of oxygen supply, ICU beds and human resource capacity in efforts to have a coordinated regional response.
In Kakamega, two patients are in ICU at the county referral hospital, while seven are admitted at the hospital’s burns unit, which has been converted into an isolation centre. According to Dr Obara, Siaya County has been supplying others with oxygen.
“Kisumu County, for instance, depends on Siaya and Kisii to get oxygen,” she said. “Right now they are restricting the supply to other counties,” she stated.
Among the 14 counties in the bloc, only Kisii, Siaya, Trans Nzoia and Kericho have oxygen supply plants, Dr Obara said.
In Homa Bay, Governor Cyprian Awiti said deaths in the county could be higher as some people die and are buried without being tested and their records captured by the Covid-19 Emergency Response Committee.
“Families are saying their relatives developed difficulties breathing before dying,” he said.
The county government is working with partners to establish a second high dependency unit (HDU) at Kandiege Health Centre in Rachuonyo North to reduce congestion at the county referral hospital. The hospital’s HDU had 25 patients on Thursday.
With 169 patients admitted in public and private hospitals, 16 in ICU and 640 on home care, Kisumu Deputy Governor Mathews Owili and Health executive Boaz Nyunya have cautioned residents against dropping their guard, saying hospitals are overstretched.
“The war against it will not be won in hospitals, if we do not follow Covid-19 protocols and protect ourselves, our health facilities may not be able to cope,” Dr Owili said.
New oxygen plant
Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya said his government has procured a new oxygen manufacturing plant from France to improve supply at the county general hospital and level 4 hospitals.
“We have an oxygen plant that can produce 300 litres of oxygen per minute but we have now imported another with a capacity to produce 1,000 litres per minute,” said Mr Oparanya.
On his part, Vihiga, Governor Wilber Ottichilo expressed fear that the 16-bed capacity isolation ward at the county referral hospital could soon be overstretched.
In Kisii, 36 patients are admitted at the Covid-19 isolation wards in Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital, 16 of them on oxygen support.
Reporting by Elizabeth Ojina, Benson Amadala, George Odiwuor, Vitalis Kimutai, Wycliffe Nyaberi, Shaban Makokha, Derick Luvega and Ian Byron