The Mwai Kibaki Hospital in Othaya, Nyeri County has operationalized the first ever morgue in the sub-county.
The modernized mortuary which sits in the same compound as the referral hospital has been fitted with 66 state-of-the-art cooling cabinets with each cabinet holding three corpses, but the hospital management says that the morgue can hold up to 250 bodies.
Previously, Othaya residents were forced to seek mortuary services from the neighbouring Mukurwe-ini, Kiriani and Nyeri towns.
Speaking during the official opening ceremony, Othaya Member of Parliament Gichuki Mugambi said that the Ministry of Health had also posted a government pathologist to the facility who would conduct post mortems in the county.
“The presence of a pathologist means that some of the cases that were delayed in court awaiting postmortem reports will now be fast tracked. It will also ease the struggle that families go through as they seek to establish the cause of death of their kin because the services have been brought closer to them,” said Mugambi.
Also commissioned include the hospital’s oxygen plant, kitchen and laundry areas which were all constructed at a cost of Sh 500 million.
According to Peter Muiruri, the hospital’s senior director, the oxygen plant can produce up to 2.6 million litres of oxygen in a day. Muiruri also said that the operationisation would solve the oxygen deficiency experienced by hospitals around the Mount Kenya region and would reduce the cost incurred while transporting the gas from independent oxygen producers.
“Currently we are only utilizing one channel to produce about 1,800 litres of oxygen meaning we can fill more than 30 cylinders per minute. We intend to supply this important gas to other counties but it will be at a reasonable fee so that we can be able to sustain the functions of the plant,” said Muiruri.
Construction of the Mwai Kibaki hospital started in 2010 at the cost of Sh 1 billion. After its completion in 2019, the facility was first named Othaya Level Six hospital before it was renamed to Kenyatta National Hospital, Othaya Annex. Following the death of Kenya’s third president in April, the facility was renamed The Mwai Kibaki Hospital in honour of Kenya’s third president who passed away in April.
The 300 bed capacity facility which is situated in Othaya, was meant to offer specialized treatment for Nyeri residents and eight other counties that form the Mount Kenya region. It was also meant to decongest the Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi.
Muiruri said that the hospital would continue to operate under the management board of the Kenyatta National Hospital. He noted that the facility was still relying on visiting specialists from KNH to offer some of the specialized services similar to those offered at KNH in Nairobi.
“We are still at the incubation phase, we want to tap on the expertise of the Kenyatta National Hospital so that once we have reached a level where the institution can run on its own, that is the time the Ministry of Health can allow the hospital to have its own board,” he said.
By Wangari Mwangi