Counties asked to be on high floods, waterborne diseases alert.

Health CS Sicily Kariuki confers with the contractor doing the CT scan unit at Thika Level 5 Hospital  during the groundbreaking ceremony on Friday. Looking on is Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu (partly hidden), Thika MP Patrick Wainaina and senior medical personnel at Thika Level 5 Hospital and the county government health headquarters.

Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki has placed counties on high alert as raging floods that have wreaked havoc in many parts of the country threaten to unleash a wave of communicable diseases like cholera, typhoid, malaria and flus.

Speaking at the Thika Level 5 Hospital after commissioning the groundbreaking ceremony of a new Computed Tomography (CT or CAT) scan Unit, the CS sounded alarm over possible disease outbreaks in low lying parts of the country and major cities grappling with the extreme weather event. 
She directed county governments to allocate funds toward mitigating the outbreak of water-borne diseases in the light of flooding occasioned by heavy downpour.

“We don’t want last minute rush to save lives. Let the county governments start stocking the necessary drugs in all the public health facilities now and find ways to contain these floods through drainage,” said Ms. Kariuki.

She added that though health services had been devolved, her ministry would continue supporting county governments to ensure that the country achieved its goal of Universal Health Care for All by the year 2022.

“We need to relook on our approach to health services provision as a country. We need to consult each other (national and county governments) as we move towards proper co-ordination and invest in both equipment and human resource,” said the CS.

Ms. Kariuki challenged the counties to invest more on preventive health care and early screening so that the country can be in a position to manage diseases during their initial stages.

She promised to sponsor 37 radiologists get scholarships to study in China so as they can assist in the management of the CT scan unit.

“I also appeal the county leadership (in Kiambu) to ensure that all these investments that the national government is making in the hospital are fully utilised.”

Area governor Ferdinand Waititu outlined his vision for the health sector in his county saying that his government was spending about 60% of its budget in the provision of proper health care to its people.

He lamented that the current facilities were outstretched due to the influx of residents from other counties urging the national government to put a similar facility at Kiambu Level 5 Hospital, who among others, 50% of its clientele came from Nairobi County.

“We are also looking into possibilities of collaborating with the three main universities in the county to have their health students serve in our facilities as either interns and through attachments. This way, we will help us ease the human resource deficit experienced at our health facilities,” said Waititu.

Thika Town MP Eng. Patrick Wainaina appealed to the health ministry to develop a policy to standardise health services across board.

“As we speak now, health services provided by private hospitals are beyond the reach of the common mwananchi. For instance, a CT scan goes for about sh. 20,000 or beyond in such facilities. We need to come up with a policy to address this concern without hurting their (private hospitals) business,” said Wainaina.

He appealed to the governor to invest more in expansion of the existing facilities at Thika Level 5 Hospital to make it more habitable to the patients who at times were forced to share beds in the wards.

Wainaina also offered to support the hospital by providing nurse assistants through his Jungle Foundation with a view to easing the human resource deficit.

“To supplement these efforts by the two levels of government, Jungle Foundation is also running a Community and home-based care programme (CHBC) within Thika Town Constituency where we are offering nursing care, counselling and psychosocial support, spiritual support, nutrition to the aged and the vulnerable,” he said.

Within a period of 6 weeks, Thika Level 5 Hospital will be the first public health facility in Kenya, apart from Kenyatta National Hospital, to have an ultra-modern CT scan machine.

Currently, the hospital refers about 150 patients for CT scans monthly to KNH and other private hospitals.

According to the Medical Superintendent Dr. Patrick Nyaga said that they were planning start a cancer treatment unit very soon and also endeavour to be a centre of excellence in diagnostic laboratory services with a view to improving health outcomes in the region. 

The hospital serves an average of 10,000 patients daily mainly drawn from Thika, Murang’a, Machakos, Garissa and Nairobi.

So as to respond to emergencies in real time, the hospital has now opened a free call centre that will enable people to access medical and ambulance services wherever they are in real time.

The service works in a similar fashion as the Uber cabs service where the client is connected to the nearest health facility or ambulance.

To get this service, one needs to dial 0800-722-382.
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