The Tana River County Development Implementation and Coordination Committee (CDICC) has expressed satisfaction with steps taken to improve the provision of medical services in the county.
The committee said it was particularly impressed by the installation of modern medical equipment under the Managed Equipment Scheme (EMS) at the Hola County Referral Hospital, which is set to revolutionize the provision of services at the facility.
Led by Tana River County Commissioner Oning’oi ole Sosio, the committee toured the health facility Monday and lauded the national and county governments for partnering to improve service delivery at the hospital.
Among the equipment the committee saw were modern radiological equipment that included an ultrasound, a digital X-ray machine, a mammogram, and an orthopantomograph (a machine that is able to take an X-ray image of the upper and lower jaws at once).
The team also saw a newly fitted modern computerized tomography (CT-Scan) machine, two surgical theatres and a central sterile services department (CSSD) unit, which is used to sterilize equipment in an operating theatre.
The theatres and CSSD were already in use but the CT-Scan machine was awaiting the installation of radiation monitors before it could be operationalized.
The committee also toured the modern maternity wing at the hospital, whose construction is at its final stages. The wing was funded through conditional grants from the national government.
Health officials said the Garsen Health Centre in Tana Delta Sub County had also benefited from a surgical theatre, modern radiology equipment as well as a CSSD, while Bura Health Centre got one operating theatre.
“We are happy that the national and county governments have partnered to provide state of the art equipment at this hospital, thus solving a perennial problem in which patients have had to be referred to hospitals outside the county for specialized treatment,” the county commissioner said.
He said the committee had ascertained that all theatre and radiology units had been fitted and were in use while the renal unit and CT scan machine had been fitted and staff trained and that the commissioning of the units would done by June.
“We acknowledge the fact that there have been delays here and there occasioned by staffing, but we are happy to note as a committee that the management of this facility has taken time to train their own staff to guard against shortfalls in future,” he said.
He said the committee was impressed that the tools were not just lying unutilized adding, “We are witnesses that they are functioning, and those that are not are awaiting final touches.”
Tana River County Executive Committee Member (CECM) for Health, Mrs. Mwanajuma Habwoka Hiribae and the County Director of Medical Services, Dr. Oscar Endekwa, told the committee that all the equipment was ready for use and could be commissioned any time soon.
“We have had problems with staffing, but this is being sorted out,” said Mrs. Hiribae, who received the team in her office at the hospital.
She said the hospital had already recruited five medical doctors and a number of new staff members with a view to operationalizing the equipment.
Hiribae said the county government used to pay Sh90 million per year for the equipment, but added that the money, which is deducted at source (the National Treasury), had been increased to Sh200 million annually.
“Although there is politics in the way the procurement for the services was done, we are happy to have the equipment because very soon we shall stop referring our patients to other hospitals,” she said.
“One would never have imaged that we could have a whole CT Scan in Tana River County. The shortest distance that one would get such a service is in Garissa, which is almost 200 kilometers away or Mombasa, which is more than 300 kilometers away.
She said once the hospital gets the newly recruited staff, all the equipment would be put into use, noting that this would ease the burden of patients and relatives who have had to travel far.
“For me as the county executive for health in Tana River County, this equipment has really added value and brought services closer to the people so that they do not have to travel long distances and incur huge financial costs,” she said.
Dr. Endekwa explained that the equipment had been leased and the county was paying for them for a period of time, with the manufacturers required to carry out routine maintenance during the entire lease period.
“It is worth to note that the equipment does not belong to the hospital, but to the manufactures, who have a duty to carry out maintenance and replace any broken components during the entire lease period,” he said.
By Emmanuel Masha