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Governor pleads for opening of idle ICU unit in new hospital

By Jacinta Mutura | April 2nd 2020

Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga has asked the management of Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) to open the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Othaya National Teaching and Referral Hospital.

The county handed management of the Level Six hospital to KNH last August.

Mr Kahiga (right) said the hospital, which is a branch of KNH, has six new ventilators that have been lying idle for years. “The ventilators are still packed in cartons. We are urging KNH to operationalise it to increase ICU services in the country,” said Kahiga.

His call comes days after health officials, led by Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe, decried inadequacy of ICUs and ventilators, which will be needed should the coronavirus crisis worsen.

“The process of opening the ICU has been too slow. If KNH fails, we will ask the Health CS to allow the equipment moved to our isolation facility at Mount Kenya Hospital,” said Kahiga.

He said in the event the corona crisis worsens, health systems in counties would be overwhelmed.

“Nyeri General Hospital only has six ventilators currently being used by patients with chronic respiratory conditions. We have a shortage of ICUs yet the hospital gets most referral cases from the larger central region,” said Kahiga.

Meanwhile, the governor said 33 people who had travelled from other counties have been quarantined.

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