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Power outages and Shortage of staff hinders services for critically ill

The Kisii County CEC Health, Sarah Omache, the County Deputy County Commissioner Leonard Mgute (left) and the County Coordinator National Lands Commission Andrew Rotich among other members of the County Development Implementation and Coordination Committee during a tour of Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital. Photo by KNA.
The Highly Equipped High Dependency Unit in Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital is unutilized due to shortage of staff. Photo by KNA.

Perpetual power outages and shortage of staff are a major hindrance to provision of services for the critically ill patients at Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital, Kisii County Development Implementation and Coordination Committee has pointed out.

The  South Nyanza Region Presidential Delivery Unit Director, Melchizedek Onguso led the Committee to the facility to find out reasons for power outage, and underutilization of the High Dependency Unit despite being fully equipped.

Addressing the committee, the KTRH CEO, Dr. Enock Ondari and the County CEC Health, Sarah Omache noted that power outages had forced the institution to seek alternative means, while shortage of staff had rendered the High Dependency Unit (HDU) non-operational despite being provided with multi-million shilling equipment by the national Government.

Dr. Ondari  said the challenge had forced the facility to discharge patients from the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) direct into the wards instead of through the HDU which has three beds.

On  the issue of power, Dr. Ondari said the facility was forced to purchase six generators which assists when there is outage but noted the facility needed a dedicated link to the national grid.

He  said the direct line would also facilitate use of the newly constructed microwave incinerator to treat medical waste.

He however, sought to know the cause of the high power bills totaling Sh.2.5m a month, but was informed that the consumption for all hospital machines including 12 renal machines 2Xrays, Computed Tomography (CT scan), and Magnetic Resource Imaging (MRI) among others, can be quite high.

The Regional KPLC Manager, Mangera Murungi advised reduction of consumption on lighting and water heating by finding alternative means, and centralizing of tariffs to reduce costs.

Mangera however, noted there were power outages during the month of June this year occasioned by inadequate water supply, but the status had changed following the recent rains , except for occasional normal emergency outages.

He however, promised to conduct an audit on the same and give a substantive report within two weeks.

According to Omache, natural attrition including retirement, and movement of qualified staff to greener pastures and budget constraints were the major cause of shortage of staff.

Underscoring the urgency to address the challenge, Onguso noted that residents stood to benefit since they are currently forced to travel long distances to seek treatment.

“We have noted with concern that the Renal Unit in Nyamache Level 4 hospital in Nyamache Sub county is also on the verge of closure due to lack of staff, as residents are forced to travel to as far as Nairobi leaving a fully equipped facility at home,” said Onguso.

Dr. Ondari  also noted the need for direct water line by the local Gusii  Water Supply Company (GWASCO) into the facility, which consumes 5000L per hour.

“The  era of this facility making news headlines for wrong reasons such as being littered with jerry cans under the beds is far gone,” said Ondari.

Other  committee members present included, the Kisii Central Deputy County Commissioner, Leonard Mgute, the County Coordinator National Lands Commission, Andrew  Rotich, and the Deputy CID County Commander,  Linus Omwango  among others.

By  Jane  Naitore

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