It's not a secret that public hospitals are struggling across Kenya and that their functions mostly depends on the work of Good Samaritans and philanthropists.
For the last 10 years' health professionals and patients at the Uasin Gishu County hospital have been running their sweat and sneezing occasioned by the dust hanging over the leaking and sagging roof at the hospital. So much so that at the height of the challenges, male and female patients were forced to share a single smelly pit latrine.
This is not new to them. Over the years, residents of Chepkiolel location and its environs have had to deal with meagre facilities to get healthcare services.
Set up during the pre-colonial era, Uasin Gishu hospital was renowned in the region for an extraordinary antiretroviral programme for HIV patients, an inspiring outpatient department and, uniquely in the area, for providing Antenatal, Antiretroviral Therapy, Basic Emergency Obstetric Care, Comprehensive Emergency, Obstetric Care, Curative Outpatient Services, Family Planning, Home Based Care, Tuberculosis Diagnosis and Tuberculosis Labs among other services.
However, as funding from the central government continued to dwindle, the hospital's laboratory and lavatory facilities were neglected. No emergency services could be performed. Patients who needed were referred to the Moi Teaching and Referal Hospital, an hour-and-a-half's drive away.
"I can't say what happened to those who don't make it there in time," says a health member, who sought anonimity.
In the last three months, Uasin Gishu County hospital has become something of an unwilling beacon of hope, a prominent side of the blemished face of Kenya's crippled public healthcare system.
Since the advent of devolution, the hospital has been receiving its fair share of attention. The county government moved in to supply the much needed drugs and recruited more staff, doctors, nurses and specialists who have been attending to the needs of the residents.
And with the attention from the county government, came support from the private sector. In the last six months, financial services provider, UAP Old Mutual, through its philanthropic arm, UAP Old Mutual Foundation pumped Sh10.9 million for the refurbishment of the sagging roof, two new laboratories, lavatory facilities and the broken floor at the facility.
More importantly, the dilapidated maternity wing was given a facelift and modern fitting were installed. "It is a breath of fresh air that goes to indicate what public/private partnerships can achieve," noted Governor Jackson Mandago.
"We welcome good Samaritans and we are ready to work together to provide services to our people especially on healthcare which been a challenge for the county government," the governor added.
UAP Old Mutual foundation on its part says the funding was in line with supporting the governments Big Four Agenda whose one of its key objectives is improving access to universal health care.
"We are proud to make a difference to the community through supporting access to health care as a way of giving back to the communities where we do business," the group CEO Peter Mwangi said during the handover of the facility.
The Foundation has been involved in similar health improvement programmes including the refurbishment of the Kenyatta National Hospital to the tune of Sh18 million and Alsabah Children's Hospital in Juba, South Sudan to the tune of Sh12 million.