The County Government of Nakuru is refurbishing five public health facilities within the devolved unit at a cost of over Sh1 billion.
The county Governor Lee Kinyanjui said the upgrade that includes equipping hospitals with diagnostic equipment will also involve hiring of 312 health practitioners to meet the rising demand.
Speaking when he flagged off distribution of drugs and supplies valued at Sh 100 million to health facilities within the region Wednesday , Kinyanjui stated that upgrade works were on going at the Nakuru Referral and Teaching Hospital, Naivasha and Molo Sub-County hospitals at a cost of Sh600 million, Sh300 million and Sh100 million respectively.
Other facilities targeted for infrastructure uplift and equipment are Gilgil Mental Hospital and Elburgon Sub County hospitals with each being allocated Sh40 million.
He said the County’s Health Department was focusing on preventive health care to ease disease burden through detecting and managing health complications before they advance.
The governor said the county has now incorporated free medical checkups for non-communicable diseases (NCDS) in services offered at all Public Health facilities including by Beyond Zero Clinic.
Kinyanjui said his administration had put in place an efficient audit and accounting system that will track how the distributed drugs and supplies procured from the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (KEMSA) are used.
He said all drugs supplied to the public health care centers will be coded to avoid theft and redistribution to unauthorized destinations. The governor stated that the second phase of public health facilities upgrade will cover Subukia and Bahati Sub-County Hospitals.
Kinyanjui further said that the devolved unit was in talks with the National government to secure grants that will finance operations of the Gilgil mental health facility.
“Gilgil Hospital is the only one in the country besides Mathari Hospital that offers services to mentally disturbed patients. Unlike Mathari, Gilgil has not been receiving grants from the Treasury. We have already engaged Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki in talks and the outcome is promising,” he said.
The governor noted that parts of the funds will be used to set up a modern fully fledged and operational theatre at the hospital.
At the Nakuru Teaching and Referral Hospital upgrade works include setting up a modern radiotherapy unit and an outpatient complex. Due to high numbers of accident casualties on the Nakuru-Naivasha Highway, the County was setting up a fully operational theatre facility at Naivasha Sub-County Hospital, added the governor.
County Executive Committee Member for Health Dr. Zachary Gichuki said though Nakuru was not classified a malaria epidemic Zone new cases of the disease were on the rise due to climate change.
He said the department had embarked on door to door sensitization campaigns and public barazas to educate the public on measures towards preventing the disease.
Dr. Gichuki further stated that health officers were now offering free screening for malaria parasites.
By Jane Ngugi and Dennis Rasto