Plans to decongest KNH underway, says CEO

Obino Robin

Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) administrators have embarked on measures to decongest the referral facility.

The hospital serves up to 2,000 in-patients and about 1,500 out-patients daily.

Acting chief executive Dr Thomas Mutie said the hospital board had resolved to source for funds from donors such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (Unicef) for expansion and acquisition of more ultramodern facilities.

Mutie spoke when he received a Sh4.5 million ultra-modern Intensive Care Unit (ICU) bed donated by the Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC).

“This being the biggest health referral facility in the region, it needs at least one ICU bed per 50 patients. Following this donation, we now have 42 meaning we still have a deficit of 65,” he said.

The referral hospital is grappling with congestion and shortage of equipment such as heart and lung machine, critical in life-saving heart operations at the facility. The machine costs about Sh25 million. KNH performs an average 1,200 heart surgeries per year. 

Meanwhile, the Health ministry has urged all healthcare providers to invest in palliative care services to improve the quality of life of patients battling terminal illnesses.

Speaking during celebrations to mark 30th anniversary of Nairobi Hospice, Principal secretary Peter Tum said HIV and cancer are not the only challenges facing palliative care in Kenya.

“The government has taken up management of palliative care services which are no longer coordinated by free-standing hospices and a few mission hospitals. Today most county referral hospitals have a palliative care unit,” he said.

Former minister Beth Mugo, who presided over the event, said her cancer foundation has already partnered with stakeholders from United States and Oman to train personnel on awareness creation,  early detection, prevention and treatment of cancer and other non-communicable diseases.

“In 2017, we met in Oman to present the burden of cancer in most countries. About 160 nurses were trained,” she said.

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