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Government to review abroad medical referral criteria

The director of medical services has been directed to urgently review the criteria used in allowing Kenyans to travel abroad for specialized treatment.


Health Cabinet secretary, CS Sicily Kariuki said there was need for her ministry to review the criteria to ensure that only compelling health conditions that could not be handled locally were referred out of the country.


Kariuki said Kenya had developed the capacity to handle most of the medical cases at a more affordable costs.


The CS was speaking in Eldoret town on Thursday when she officially launched the Kidney and Liver transplant centre at Mediheal hospital to commemorate this year’s world kidney day.


She said 4300 Kenyans were currently undergoing dialysis procedures in 151 dialysis centres across the country.


She added that 466 patients had since 2006, undergone kidney transplant largely at Kenyatta national hospital, Moi Teaching and Referral hospital, (MTRH) and other private hospitals within Nairobi.


“This was before the entry of Mediheal hospital which has undertaken 30 kidney transplants with an impressive success rate,” she observed.


Through the Managed Equipment Services (MES) programme, the national government is working closely in collaboration with the county governments to ensure specialised health services are brought closer to the people through the provision of modern specialised medical equipment to county hospitals.


In 2015, the government spent Sh38 billion in the EMS programme that saw two hospitals, Ziwa and Burnt Forest in Uasin Gishu County benefitting from the equipment.


Kariuki, who was accompanied by Uasin Gishu and Elgeyo Marakwet governors Jackson Mandago and Alex Tolgos respectively, several MP’s, and the health committee chair in the senate Stephen Mule said for a long time the country has had a serious gap in skills of staff dealing in renal management.


“For a long time we have had only 23 nephrologists backed by 350 nurses handling a population of 48 million Kenyans.”


To address the human resource gap, she said, the government had established the East Africa kidney institute as a centre of excellence for kidney disease management that will train multi-disciplinary receptors.


“This is one of the initiatives that hold a lot of promises for patients suffering from kidney diseases. The Institute will train 170 supportive healthcare workers every three months, 20 nurses in higher diploma in renal nursing, 12 nephrologists annually and five urologists annually.


The CS observed that there has been an upsurge of non-communicable diseases with 50 percent of hospital admissions being non-communicable conditions that are also the cause of 30 percent deaths.


In his remarks Mediheal group of hospitals CEO, Dr. Swarup Mishra who is also the MP for Kesses said 22 kidney transplants had been done successfully since the services started in the hospital.


“We are doing four to five kidney transplants daily. The liver transplant centre will be the first in Africa,” he added.


Dr. Mishra said 4 million Kenyans were suffering from kidney diseases and it was unfortunate that young people die due to the disease for lack of early treatment.


By KiptanuiCherono

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