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Thika Level 5 Hospital Celebrating A Revolution, 75 Years Down The Line.

Health officers attending their first patient in the newly opened ICU Unit at Thika Level 5 Hospital.
Thika Level 5 Hospital celebrates its 75th Birthday this November having registered a very enormous revolution in terms of infrastructure and human resource. Started as a native health facility for the indigenous black people in the year 1941, the hospital has registered a tremendous growth especially in the last 4 years of devolved system of government.

From just a simple health centre with basically essential services, it has grown to one of the leading public health institutions in the country, serving about 60-70% referral cases from the neighbouring Gatundu, Ruiru and Juja Sub-counties, Murang’a, Machakos and Nairobi Counties and the Northern Frontier County of Garissa.

To mark these success, the hospital has scheduled a series of mini activities such as medical clinics geared towards illustrating the strides made over that period of time.

Among the successes include a new state-of-the-art 6-bed ICU ward that is supported by a 3-bed HDU ward and an isolation room that successfully handled it first client yesterday (Monday).

“We are very happy that for the first time in 75 years, we have operationalised ICU services at a cost of sh. 95 million annually for the next 7 years. You all appreciate that a hospital is never complete unless it can take care of critically ill patients who need emergency and specialised intensive treatment. We are happy to appreciate the contribution of both the national and county governments who have made this dream a reality,” said Dr. Andrew J. Toro, the Medical Superintendent, Thika Level 5 Hospital.

He added that the development of this facility was a big boost in the health services of the people of this region as they were previously forced to seek the same services at Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH).

He said that they were in the process of starting citiscan services that complement ICU services.

The ICU Unit is will be served by their oxygenation plant that is capable of generating its own oxygen to guarantee enough supply of the gas to provide both cardiac and respiratory support to persons whose heart and lungs are unable to provide an adequate amount of gas exchange to sustain life. The plant is capable of producing more gas that they require at any given time thus they plan to be selling the excess gas to institutions that will need it.

They also have a mammography theatre that performs mammograms in women as we all know that successful treatment of breast cancer depends on early diagnosis.

With the support of the County Government of Kiambu, the extension of the hospital’s lab and dental departments are in the final stages and the will soon open their doors to the public.

“This departments will go a long way in addressing the challenges that we have been experiencing in these two departments. Remember, the dental services have not been receiving the emphasis that they ought to,” he said.

The hospital is also in the process of completing a sh. 700 million state-of-the-art reproductive health unit with a 270-bed capacity, complete with all the necessary departments such as clinics, in-patient services, labour wards, theatres, ICUs, lecture theatres, amenities for patients who like private services, offices and a doctors’ parlour.
Construction Works going on on the sh. 700m reproductive health unit at Thika Level 5 Hospital.

“The facility is at 52% completion and God willing, we will have it up and running by early next year.”

Thika Level 5 has also had a general facelift of its old buildings where they did some repainting, re-carpeting the corridors and walkways, bought state-of-the-art beds in the wards, has an endoscopy machine and renovated their minimal invasive theatre that will cater for a paroscopy, endoscopy and urology for out-patients cases.

Their maternity wing, despite of all its challenges, is able to deliver an average of 700 babies monthly with a life birth maternal rate of between 60 and 100%.

“We also plan to have a blood transfusion centre, the only one in the county. We are currently able to mobilise about 700-800 units of blood per month. The essence of the availability of blood is to reduce maternal mortality and mobility as we all know that the biggest killer of expectant mothers is the lack of blood especially during emergencies,” said Dr. Toro.

Elizabeth Njeri Kibucha, the officer In-charge of the Renal Department, said that their new unit serves 10 kidney patients daily. She appreciates the fact that since its commissioning on 13th November 2015, they have been able to do 1,208 sessions, cases that were previously handled at KNH.

She says that out of the 75 patients who have been booked for dialysis so far, the unit has been able to handle 23 cases and were really working extra hard to clear the backlog.

“We realise 10 patients a day with our five machines, each patient taking about 4 hours. Each one of them are dialysed twice a week at a cost of sh. 9,500 per session. All our NHIF compliant patients are handled free of charge,” said Kibucha.

They have also acquired a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machines that uses a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy to make pictures of organs and structures inside the body. It can also give different information about structures in the body than can be seen with an X-ray, ultrasound, or computed tomography (CT) scan. MRI scans are capable of producing a variety of chemical and physical data, in addition to detailed spatial images. MRI is widely used for medical diagnosis, staging of disease and follow-up without exposing the body to ionizing radiation.

Dr. Toro taking through Health C.E.C. Manjari Mwangi the operations of the new MRI Centre at Thika Level 5 Hospital.
This facility is the 2nd in the county after Kiambu Level 5 Hospital. Patients will benefit from this facility at a cost of between sh. 8,000 and 10,000 per session.

The hospital has recently upgraded their software that now enables them to capture all their data ‘real-time’.

“For the last one month, we have a software which is able to capture a patient from the time of registration to the time of discharge. This software is one of its kind because at real time, you can be able to know where a particular patient is and what services have been given to them. This software will go a long way in improving efficiency and effectiveness of operating the systems in the hospital,” said Andrew Maina, The Hospital Administration Officer.

Kiambu County Executive Member (C.E.C.) of Health, Dr. Jonah Manjari Mwangi said the initiative by the Thika Level 5 Hospital was part of the county government’s 2014-18 Strategic Plan aimed at improving the health services within the county. He said that they had this year allocated sh. 4.2 Billion for health services with sh. 2 Billion going to infrastructural development and recurrent expenditure.

“We have continued to improve on infrastructural development, not only in Thika Level 5 but also in all the other health facilities within the county. It is important to note that we are building 4 theatres that are almost complete at Karatu, Rosiget, Lari, and Wangige. We are also doing four Level 4 hospitals of a bed capacity of 200 patients in Lari, Tigoni, Wangige and Kikuyu,” said Mwangi.

He promised that all these projects will be operational by June next year.

Kiambu County Health Department has zoned their health facilities to enable each one of them to handle a particular area of health concern. Lari has been zoned as a trauma centre, Tigoni as a respiratory and childhood illness centre, Kiambu as a neurosurgical and NCD centre, Thika as a reproductive health services centre and other innovations that will be brought on board, Ruiru as a renal services centre while Gatundu has been zoned as a non-communicable diseases centre.

Other major projects that are in the pipeline include an ICU wing in both Gatundu and Kiambu Hospitals.
Kiambu is also working to improve on its human resource through employment of more health workers especially in the nursing and clinical officers’ cadres. They have also earmarked a kitty for the promotion of its health officers.

“We are now in the second phase of promoting health care workers. In last Fiscal Year, we promoted 485 healthcare workers that are up to Job Group K. And we are in the process of promoting all the other cadres above Job Group K,” said the C.E.C.

He admitted that the county has had a challenge in the procurement of stokers of their commodities but they have now resumed re-stocking drugs from KEMSA to all their health facilities. They are also installing Med 360 machines to all their eight major hospitals and 56 Level 2 and 3 Hospitals.

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