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Counties to step up their ICUs

By Graham Kajilwa | July 1st 2020 at 12:00:00 GMT +0300

KMPDB CEO Daniel Yumbya addresses patients and staff at Shalom Community Hospital in Athi River, Machakos County yesterday. [Peterson Githaiga, Standard]
The government has said counties will convert a portion of their 300 isolation beds for critical care allaying fears of a possible shortage of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) as the country nears peak of Covid-19 pandemic with 6,366 cases so far.

The decision on how many beds will be specifically for ICU will be a reserve of the counties, which have up to July 10, to meet the requirement of 300 isolation beds each as a requisite for President Uhuru Kenyatta to consider reopening the country.

By March, Kenya had 518 critical care beds, and 439 were occupied. On June 26, 2020 the Ministry did report 18 Covid-19 patients in critical care, the highest number so far.

Modelling by Ministry of Health is that peak of the disease will be in a month’s time and will spread to September, with expectation of 200 cases daily.

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Yesterday, Health Chief Administrative Secretary Dr Rashid Aman reported 176 new cases from a sample size of 2,419 and four deaths raising the number of fatalities to 148. “The 300 beds are not just simple beds. There is a proportion of them which will be set up as ICU together with ventilators,” said Aman.

ICUs are mandatory in all level five and six hospitals.

While level five facilities are under the county management, level six are national referral hospitals, among them Kenyatta National Hospital and Kenyatta University Teaching Referral and Research Hospital, which are main facilities that have majority of Covid-19 patients.

Earlier, Council of Governors Chair Wycliffe Oparanya noted challenges in passing supplementary budgets had made it a challenge to set up isolation beds until the Ministry released Sh5 billion conditional grant for the purpose.

“What remains is just buying beds which they will achieve by the deadline,” he said. 

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Covid-19 President Uhuru Kenyatta Intensive Care Unit
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