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Kidney sufferer urges county government to operationalize idle renal unit

A kidney sufferer has asked Tana River County Government to immediately open the newly created renal unit at the Hola referral hospital.

Mr. Said Maro Doyo wondered why the kidney dialysis machines had remained unutilized more than one month after they were installed, yet there were scores of kidney sufferers in the county.

“Many kidney sufferers have died because they are unable to meet the costs of dialysis outside the county. Now that we have our own machines, I urge the County Government to immediately open the renal unit,” he told journalists at his home in Hola Town Sunday.

He said he was incurring at least Sh20, 000 for the two trips he makes to and from Malindi on fare, accommodation and meals weekly. The cost of dialysis amounting to Sh9, 500 per session was being met by the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF),’’ he said.

“By right I am supposed to undergo three dialysis sessions, but because of the high travel and accommodation costs, I have to go for two. I thank God my family is taking care of me, but how about those who do not have the ability?” he asked.

He said he had visited the hospital several times to enquire on the services, but he has always been told the machines were awaiting official launch.

“Why don’t they start using the machines as they wait for the elaborate ceremony to launch them? Why make us suffer when we can get the services locally?” he posed.

Mr. Doyo was diagnosed with kidney failure ten years ago, several years after he was retrenched from the civil service.

“I got employed at a local petroleum service station but had to be laid off due to my failing health,” he said.

At the same time, Mr. Doyo has appealed to well-wishers to raise Sh2.5 million so he could have a kidney transplant in India.

“Two of my brothers have offered to donate their kidneys, but we are unable to meet the costs of the procedure and travel to India,” he said.

Contacted, Tana River County Executive Committee Member for Health and Sanitation, Mrs. Mwanajuma Hiribae confirmed that the machines had been fully installed and were awaiting official launch.

“We had taken three officers – a medical officer, a nurse and a nutritionist – for training on the use of the unit and they are now back. We are only waiting for the official launch to start offering the services,” she said.

Mwanajuma said CT-Scan and other radiological services would soon be offered at the hospital immediately after the official launch as they had also been installed. Also installed were surgical operation theatres at the hospital as well as the Garsen and Bura Health Centres.

Investigations at the hospital have revealed that most of the Sh400 million leased medical equipment installed in the county’s health facilities were yet to be utilized more than three years after they were procured under the Managed Medical Equipment Scheme.

They include two fully fitted modern radiology units at the Hola Referral Hospital and the Garsen Health Centre, two fully fitted operation theatres at the referral hospital and the Bura Health Centre and one equipment sterilization machine at the referral hospital.

Though some of the radiological machines were in use, the hospital lacks a radiologist to interpret images, hence many patients opted to seek the services in Mombasa and other areas where there were experts.

The radiology unit at the Hola Referral hospital has a modern x-ray machine, an ultra sound machine, a mammogram and a dental x-ray machine (orthopantomogram). The CT-Scan machine was installed at a modern building within the hospital.

By Emmanuel Masha

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