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Equipment idle as counties pay millions in shadowy pact

Health & Science
 CT scanner. [File, Standard]

Inadequate space, staff and poor electricity supply have hampered utilisation of medical equipment in some North Rift counties under the Managed Equipment Service (MES). 

Officials who spoke to Sunday Standard from the region however said some equipment are fully operational which has minimised referral cases to health facilities in other counties. 

“We no longer refer patients to the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) in Eldoret because the equipment we received are fully functional and operate 24 hours. We liaised with Kenya Power on electricity upgrade and a standby generator for the equipment,” said Nandi County Chief Officer Health Paul Lagat. 

The functional equipment in the county are MRI, X-ray, diagnostic ultra sound, centralised sterilisation unit equipment, CT Scan, theatre equipment among others that have been installed at the Kapsabet County Referral Hospital in Nandi. 

In Elgeyo Marakwet, the Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) branch secretary Benson Biwot said the functional equipment at the county referral hospital in Iten are X-ray, ultra sound, mammogram and dental X-ray. 

“The CT scan was recently delivered and is yet to be commissioned. Patients seeking MRI and CT scan are still referred to Eldoret,” Biwot said. 

He added there is an acute shortage of personnel with the entire county having only one radiologist and five radiographers. 

Elgeyo Marakwet County Executive Committee (CEC) member for Health Kiprono Chepkok said they are upgrading electricity supply and CT Scan equipment will be fully operational by next week with the county spending an extra Sh3.3 million on power bill. 

“Three other hospitals that installed single phase power supply will require Sh1.2 million for upgrade to three phase for installation of X-ray facilities. Kamwosor Hospital requires Sh1.2 million for a theatre CSSP,” said Chepkok. 

KNUN secretary general, Uasin Gishu branch Beatrice Kariuki, said equipment like MRI had to be taken to MTRH due to space constraints. 

“There is still a challenge in personnel to operate ultra sound equipment. Space is also an issue, equipment including incubators for baby nursery but lack space. MRI facility was also taken to MTRH and is branded as ‘Uasin Gishu County MRI,” said Kariuki. 

Some equipment are fully operational including three ultra sound equipment, two x-ray equipment for Burnt Forest and Ziwa health facilities. Others, are dialysis machine and a mammogram for Ziwa, theatre machines for Burnt Forest. Theatre facility meant for Ziwa was taken to MTRH. 

In Burnt Forest, theatre equipment delivered at the facility lacked blood transfusion fridge while radiology machine was not delivered according to an Audit Report. In West Pokot, a renal machine installed at the Kapenguria County Referral Hospital in 2015 has never been used despite the county having paid Sh287 million in the 2017/2018 financial year.

In Nandi, the Audit revealed that the county had paid Sh390 million for the equipment by November 2018. The report revealed that intensive care equipment had not been delivered.

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