The process of recruiting 170 health workers to serve in the Nyeri Healthcare department has started, Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga has revealed.
Kahiga noted that the county does not have the requisite number of personnel required to attend to the number of health cases they currently attend to.
According to the governor, the Nyeri County Public Service Board has already started the shortlisting process of candidates while the interviews will be done before the end of this month in a bid to improve service delivery in the county’s healthcare system.
“We are still grappling with the challenge of staffing but we have taken key steps to address this. We are in the process of hiring 170 healthcare personnel across the board, among these are about 55 nurses,” he said.
Kahiga was speaking at the Nyeri Town Health Centre during the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a Sh 112 million maternity wing project.
The 35 bed capacity will be constructed at a cost of Sh 70 million and is a partnership between the Nyeri county government and the Japanese Organization for Cooperation in Family Planning (JOICEP).
Terms of the MOU which was inked in March this year state that construction of the structure will be complete in March next year to pave way for its commissioning in June 2023.
The first phase of the project will entail the construction of the facility that will host antenatal and postnatal wards, maternal and child health clinic, a laboratory, delivery room, a newborn unit, offices and consultation rooms. The remaining Sh 40 million will be spent in the second phase for procurement of the medical equipment.
“This partnership is a major milestone towards achieving universal health coverage which is my top priority. My government is committed to providing the requisite staffing and medical supplies to guarantee optimal operationalization and uninterrupted service delivery,” said Kahiga.
The governor also said that once complete, the maternity wing would not only decongest the Nyeri County Referral hospital but would also improve access to maternal and child healthcare for Nyeri town residents living in Majengo, Witemere and Gangarithi.
The Nyeri mid-term Reproductive Health and Family Planning Strategy 2015-2025 released in May this year showed an improvement in the overall maternal health services among childbearing women in the county. The review revealed that the percentage of pregnant women attending at least four antenatal clinics has increased 1.3 per cent to 62.3 in 2021. Similarly, the percentage of deliveries conducted by skilled attendance in the county had also increased from 88 per cent in 2015 to 94.8 in 2021.
The report further showed that the overall number of maternal deaths occurring in health facilities had also reduced by half over the five years of review. This is in addition to a reduction in maternal mortality ratio from 110 in 2015 to 39.8 in 2021.
“Currently, the facility has a cumulative patient attendance of 90,000 cases per year which is the workload equivalent to a level IV hospital. Some of our patients are spending as many as 30 hours in the casualty waiting to be admitted because we don’t have enough beds. Others even turn down referrals and we can’t push out patients in order to bring in new ones,” said Kahiga.
“Building a maternity wing is a path towards achieving our vision of improving access to mother and child health services for our community and ultimately contribute to the decongestion of the Nyeri County Referral Hospital,” said the county boss.
By Wangari Mwangi and Rodah Ndirangu