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County can’t deal with serious cases - report

By Nderitu Gichure | August 24th 2020
During a recent tour of the Mt Kenya Hospital Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga (C) said three hospitals have an adequate capacity and equipment to handle coronavirus cases. [Kibata Kihu/Standard]  

A report by Nyeri County Assembly has questioned the county’s capacity to treat critical Covid-19 patients.

The report, tabled and adopted by the House, indicates that the county is ill-prepared to deal with a surge in Covid-19 cases despite having a budget of over Sh154 million.

In its first report on the status of preparedness of the county’s level four and five hospitals, the committee, chaired by Speaker John Kaguchia, found that the county had not installed sufficient equipment for patients with acute breathing difficulties.

In a field visit to the Nyeri Referral Hospital, the committee found bulk oxygen was only supplied to the facility’s six-bed Intensive Care Unit.

Isolation centre

“The holding area had few tanks as opposed to having piped oxygen for uninterrupted supply,” the report said, adding:”Suspected cases, no matter how critical, are held and secluded to holding area until confirmed positive. The long wait for results from Nairobi has been a great impediment to patient’s right to health care services.”

Confirmed cases from the referral holding area were either being referred to Mt Kenya Hospital or Othaya Level 6 hospital for management.

The committee established that the two hospitals dealt with asymptomatic cases with no piped oxygen to support critical patients in need of respiratory assistance.

Mt Kenya Hospital, the report added, which has since been designated the county’s Covid-19 isolation centre, has no piped oxygen.

The facility had four oxygen cylinders, five concentrators and one ventilator and could handle nine patients, if they needed oxygen support.

“The ventilator was yet to be commissioned and not operational due to lack of bulk oxygen,” the committee said.

Twenty one nurses seconded to the facility are also stretched as some were on quarantine while others were on leave.

“Deployment of eight more would enable the facility operate effectively and have capacity to contain Covid-19 in case of a surge in infection,” the report said.

The hospital, the report added, has 37-bed capacity and further manages 182 beds at Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC).

At the time of the committee’s visit, the reports said, the facility was hosting one positive case and 12 others at KMTC - all of whom were asymptomatic.

The committee recommend that Governor Mutahi Kahiga should use the Sh154 million set aside to fight the pandemic on hospital infrastructure.

The county has so far received Sh124 million from the national government and Sh30 million from the assembly.

Covid 19 Time Series


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