Nakuru Level 5 hospital has finally been elevated to level 6-A after assessments and successful approvals by the Kenya Medical Board and the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF).
It was also a double score for Nakuru County as Naivasha Sub County Hospital was elevated to level 5 status by the two bodies from its previous level 4 Sub County Hospital. The upgrade of Naivasha hospital effectively elevates it to County status.
County Director of Medical Services Dr Benedict Osore said the elevation of Naivasha Sub-County hospital had already been gazetted and the status of the newly elevated Nakuru Level 6-A would be officially unveiled soon after the necessary paper work is completed.
The elevation of the Nakuru level 6-A serving a population of more than 2.1 million people against the recommended 1 million now brings it at par with Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) and the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH), which would see it handle referrals from the town and neighbouring counties.
The commissioning of the Sh500 million state of the art specialized mother and baby unit by First Lady Margaret Kenyatta was the latest in a series of upgrades aimed at offering specialized medical care and handling referrals from more than six counties.
The 250 bed capacity maternity facility christened Margaret Kenyatta Mother and Baby Unit, the second largest in the country after Pumwani hospital, is projected to offer affordable and quality health care to residents of Nakuru, Bomet, Baringo, Narok, Kericho, Samburu, Laikipia and Nyandarua counties
Dr Osore was upbeat that the upgrade would improve provision of quality and affordable medical services to residents of Nakuru and the surrounding counties.
“We want to ensure that the hospital accommodates more patients and work is made easier for staff as the facility is converted from a general hospital to a teaching and referral facility,” said Dr Osore.
The Nakuru level 6-A Medical Superintendent Dr Joseph Mburu observed that a major milestone that had contributed to the facility’s upgrade was establishment of a new oncology unit.
“Cancer patients can now get chemotherapy services at the Nakuru Level 6-A Hospital’s (Previously Rift Valley Provincial General Hospital) new oncology unit. Before the unit was built, most cancer patients sought treatment at Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) and the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) Eldoret,” he explained.
The unit has 10 chemotherapy seats and is manned by an oncologist, a medical officer, a pharmacist, four nurses and a physiotherapist.
The unit has the capacity to serve at least 30 patients. The governor said that in the past four months 2,156 patients have been received at the unit.
The opening of the mother and baby unit which is part of First Lady’s initiative to improve maternal and child health was also a boon for the County’s oldest and largest medical facility.
Mrs. Kenyatta has been in the forefront dedicating resources to compliment the government’s efforts to reduce maternal and child deaths through several campaigns.
At its inauguration, the First Lady said that she was impressed the number of maternal and child deaths countrywide had significantly dropped while uptake of vaccination and maternal care services had improved considerably.
She urged women to enroll in free prenatal and post-natal care programmes offered by the government under auspices of Linda Mama programme.
“It is my resolve through Beyond Zero Campaign to have maternal and infant deaths reduced to very low levels. This is a possibility if all stakeholders partner with the government towards achieving the objective,” she said.
Children born with complications get specialized care at the neonatal intensive care unit. The unit also promotes Kangaroo mother care programme for those born prematurely.
“Our mothers are entitled to deliver babies in a safe environment under care of skilled health workers. This wing is equipped with facilities that will afford Kenyans maternity, pediatric, diagnostic oncology and gynecological services,” observed Mrs. Kenyatta.
She noted that the facility, the first of its kind in the region, would drive the government’s key pillar of delivering quality, safe and affordable maternal-child care by reducing mortality rates.
Other services offered at the upgraded hospital include dialysis, child clinic, immunization and family planning. The facility has four ultramodern theatres.
Besides having several modern theatres, the hospital also has an intensive care unit, a pharmacy, a laboratory, an imaging centre and antenatal and postnatal clinics.
In May last year, Governor Lee Kinyanjui commissioned a Sh4 million dialysis machine donated by the Safaricom Foundation at the level five hospital. This brought to 16 the number of functional dialysis machines at the renal unit.
The health department in Nakuru got the lion’s share of Governor Kinyanjui’s Sh15 billion 2018/19 budget. The department was allocated nearly 36 percent of the budget.
Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki had earlier observed that even with the anticipated upgrade of the hospital, a multi-sectoral approach is required in improving accessibility to quality and affordable health care.
By Anne Mwale