Nakuru County Government has commissioned the Sh157 Million Njoro Level 4 Sub-County Hospital giving provision of health care services in the devolved unit major boost.
Governor Lee Kinyanjui said that the hospital is the tenth new state-of-the-art medical facility in the County. This was part of his administration’s Sh1.8 billion upgrade programme of health care facilities across the 11 Sub-Counties.
While announcing that the facility will be open to the public within five weeks, the governor said his administration would achieve its target of having modern inpatient and outpatient facilities in every Sub-County by June this year.
He added, “We are also establishing trauma centres at the Nakuru Level 5 Teaching and Referral Hospital, at Naivasha and Salgaa to cater for accident victims.”
The stand-alone complex features a modern maternity and neonatal wing, a pharmacy, x-ray machines and modern laboratories. The facility also houses an outpatient complex, accident and emergency unit, an imaging centre and theatres among other essential services.
Kinyanjui said the outpatient complex will also offer the highest standard of medical training and top quality of specialised healthcare services.
He stated that the new facility had been designed to offer health care services to over 200,000 residents from the Sub-Counties of Njoro, Molo, Kuresoi North, Kuresoi South Njoro, parts of Rongai Constituency and adjoining areas.
Before its upgrade, the hospital also catered for injured patients received from the notorious Sobea-Salgaa-Sachangwan-Mau Summit-Makutano accident black spot along the Nakuru-Eldoret highway.
Initially, congestion affected service delivery, forcing most patients, especially accident victims to be referred to the Nakuru Level Five Hospital.
The facility will further host trauma/accident and emergency, obstetrics, gynecology, ophthalmology, pharmacy, radiology and radiotherapy and minor surgery theatres among other departments.
“For the last four and a half years, my administration has laid emphasis on provision of quality and affordable medical services to all residents. This facility will supplement the already complete Sh650 million outpatient facility at the Nakuru Level 5 Hospital and the Sh40 million centre of excellence for mental health care at the Gilgil Sub-County Hospital and Sh60 million Level 4 health facility at Karuswa in Bahati Sub-County,” explained the Governor.
Other health care facilities nearing completion include the Sh60 million outpatient complex at Olenguruone Health Centre and the modern Sh330 million outpatient complex at the Naivasha Sub-County Referral Hospital which is expected to be operational within the next 3 months.
The latter project is a joint-partnership of the County and National governments and Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen).
Kinyanjui said investment in modern outpatient units across the devolved unit was part of the county administration’s efforts to revamp the county’s health sector and improve efficiency in emergency response.
The County administration he said was keen on decongesting the Nakuru Level 5 Teaching and Referral Hospital by modernising all Sub- County hospitals.
The Level 5 hospital serves more than eight counties in the South Rift region including Bomet, Kericho, Samburu, Baringo, Nyandarua, and Laikipia where 2,000 patients are treated daily, 750 of them being inpatients.
Acting County Executive Committee Member for Health Dr Immaculate Maina noted malaria, diseases of the respiratory system, skin diseases, diarrhoea, and intestinal parasites were major challenges at outpatient facilities around the county.
The new facilities, she noted, would provide easily accessible health services for Kenyans in the county and beyond.
“Huge investment in outpatient health facilities is still needed to improve health services across the county. We are looking at avenues towards increasing budgetary allocation and looking for donor support.
There is a need to realise that frequent health problems including accidental injuries, urinary tract infections, eye infections, rheumatism, and other infections are handled by outpatient facilities. Combined, these ten leading conditions account for nearly four-fifths of the total outpatient cases reported,” noted the CEC.
She added, “55 to 60 percent of health care needs in Nakuru are due to non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, cancer, mental illnesses, malnutrition, and asthma among others. We have prioritised proper provision health care services for these elements in designing, staffing and equipping our new health facilities”.
According to the County Health Department, the outpatient wings will also offer diagnostic tests, dental health care and dermatology among other critical services.
“We are experiencing an increased influx of referrals from other hospitals and health centres within the larger Rift Valley. Our strategy is not only to cope with the numbers but mainly to offer quality and affordable disease diagnostic, management and treatment services.
The laboratories, pharmacy and X-ray facilities within the standalone facility will be purely for the out-patients and it will ensure faster and more efficient process of laboratory tests, X-ray services and dispensing of drugs. Initially, both the in-patients and the out-patients have been competing for the same facilities,” Maina pointed out.
The county runs 184 health facilities including dispensaries, health centres, level four hospitals and the Nakuru Level Five Hospital.
At Sh6 billion, the health department in Nakuru got the lion’s share of the Sh15 billion 2020/2021 budget. This translates to nearly 36 percent of the budget. A chunk of the funds has been allocated towards construction of such new health infrastructures and procurement of modern medical equipment.
By Anne Mwale and Hellen Kivaya