NAIROBI: In 2013, the national government came up with an ambitious plan to equip county hospitals in partnership with county governments.

After a protracted back and forth, governors agreed to sign the deal totalling Sh38 billion.

Migori Senator Wilfred Machage moved a motion requiring the establishment of level five and level four health facilities in each county before the term of the current government expires.

This gave rise to Managed Equipment Services (MES) project to equip at least two hospitals in each county.

This means that by the end of the project, there would be at least 94 facilities with improved equipment.
At the end of February 2014, each county had selected the two facilities, while the national government had also decided on four other facilities: Kenyatta National Hospital, Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, National Spinal Injury Hospital and Mathari Teaching and Referral Hospital - all under the the Health ministry.

The equipment to be procured under this arrangement were to cater for dialysis, emergency, maternal-child health, basic and advanced surgery, critical care and imaging services.

By April this year, 10 hospitals had been fully equipped. Those equipped were Malava Level Four Hospital, Maragua Hospital, Homa Bay Level Four Hospital, Nakuru Level Five Hospital and Naivasha Level Four Hospital. Others were Gucha Level Four Hospital, Machakos Level Five Hospital, Kilifi Level Four Hospital, Nyahururu Level Four Hospital and the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital.

So far, 31 out of targeted 96 hospitals have received theatre equipment and 54 facilities have sterilisation equipment and theatre instruments.

Out of the targeted 49 hospitals, 12 have acquired dialysis equipment while two others have intensive care unit equipment. Eleven facilities had been targeted for intensive care unit equipment.

While 98 hospitals are being targeted for radiology equipment, 53 have received the equipment. The ministry notes that one component of the project which includes supply of laboratory equipment is yet to start in any of the facilities.

In 2015, a dispute emerged between the counties and national government over the procurement of the equipment. Issues arose whether the equipment should be leased or bought.

The Council of Governors (CoG) said it was better if the equipment was bought.

CoG Chairman Peter Munya said: "The cost of leasing the equipment for 10 years is enough to buy our own equipment over a period of three years."

The counties later on accepted to take the equipment.