Winstone Chiseremi @Wchiseremi
On a normal day, Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH ), Eldoret receives 20 to 40 patients in need of ICU services.
The hospital’s nurse manager in charge of ICU unit Daniel Komen said their faciliy is always full to capacity with patients from within and outside the county.
Patients from various parts of Western region and neighbouring countries also seeking normal and emergency services at MTRH.
Komen says the 1,000-bed capacity hospital, which is the second largest referral health facility after Kenyatta National Hospital, is grappling with myriad of challenges, key among them shortage of staff and ICU beds.
According to the World Health Organisation, one ICU nurse should take care of one patient but at the hospital, a nurse takes care of several patients due to acute shortage of trained manpower.
Komen said that one nurse handles two to five patients due to inadequate paramedical staff.
The unit, he said, has six consultants and 47 nurses among them 30 ICU trained and 17 who have no training in the field but have ICU experience and exposure. The unit has a nutritionist, counsellor, social worker and 10 physiotherapists.
Currently, Komen said, the ICU has 20 beds from the initial six with 17 reserved for mechanical ventilation while three beds are in the high dependence unit.
“Daily, we receive patients from within the hospital wards, while others come from Western, Nyanza and neighbouring countries of Uganda, Southern Sudan, and Rwanda,” said Komen.
When the pressure is too high, said Komen, the hospital makes arrangements with neighbouring private hospitals, for instance Medi-Heal, St Luke’s and Real to receive their patients as they wait for space.
MTRH chief executive Wilson Aruasa says plans are under way to increase the number of ICU beds to 32 from the current 20 by July 2019.
“We will also increase the number of consultants by three in critical care and anaesthesiologists and the number of nurses by 20,” said Aruasa.