I would like to take this opportunity to thank the County Assembly of Tharaka Nithi and appreciate the staff of this county for their contribution and tireless support in building our motherland, not just for us, but for the generations to come.
I regard resources directed to the health sector as a direct investment in our people and my administration realized the overwhelming need to improve health services, promote preventive care and enhance primary health to make service delivery effective and accessible in 2017.
Through various initiatives and programs to improve the health care system, our County was recognized as First-runners up in the delivery of World Class Primary Health Care, receiving commendations nationally and internationally in 2019 and 2021.
My administration consistently provides high-quality healthcare in the region, also serving hundreds of citizens from neighboring counties.
The guiding principle in this massive undertaking is that everyone within Tharaka Nithi County is entitled to exceptional specialized care services.
It is worth noting that numerous health facilities have benefited from several operationalizations and revamping efforts. Over the last four years, we have initiated major infrastructural projects including:
- Construction of a modern outpatient block in Chuka County Referral Hospital
- Construction of a modern Out Patient block in Marimanti Level 4 hospital
- Construction of an Out-Patient block at Magutuni Hospital.
- Construction of an Oxygen Plant at Magutuni Hospital
- Construction of a Laundry and Installation of a Medical Waste Incinerator at Magutuni Hospital
- Construction and equipping of an operating theatre and Maternity at Magutuni Level 4 hospital
- Construction and equipping of a modern Kitchen at Chuka County referral hospital
- Construction and equipping of a CT scan unit (a 64-Slice CT scan machine) in Chuka County referral hospital
- Construction and equipping of a modern Funeral home in Marimanti Level 4 hospital.
- Construction of a modern kitchen in Marimanti level 4 hospital
- Renovation and expansion of Maternal and Child Health blocks at Chuka and Marimanti hospitals,
- Construction and equipping of a Modern laboratory at Magutuni hospital
- Construction and equipping of amenity ward in Chuka County referral hospital.
- Renovation and expansion of maternity units at Chuka County referral hospital and Magutuni level 4 hospital, among others.
To enhance the provision of specialized services, we have acquired several necessary types of equipment such as Digital radiography, Ultrasound, Mammography, MRI services, Dental chairs,3 gene Xpert machines, 56 Microscopy laboratories, and a Panoramic X-ray machine (OPG)
The new ultramodern hospital complex at Chuka level 4 hospital will host specialized clinics, surgical wards, an Intensive care Unit(ICU), a High Dependency Unit(HDU) sterilization unit, major and minor theatres, and corporate services center, and administration unit. The complex will enable the county to handle the increasing number of people seeking services at the hospital.
Due to our improved healthcare services, Chuka Level IV Hospital currently attends to over 21,000 patients monthly, compared to just about just 7,500 patients in 2017. We have increased the various health practitioners to population ratios and improved the provision of essential commodities to all facilities. I wish to confirm to our residents that all our facilities are adequately stocked with essential drugs and commodities, and these include drugs that treat some critical conditions such as Hypertension, Epilepsy, Diabetes, Arthritis, and Antivenom among others.
We now have 111 operational health facilities compared to 74 four years ago. Consequently, we have reduced the distance to the nearest facility to less than 5 kilometers.
To improve emergency and referral services, the county has acquired six (6) state-of-the-art ambulances. This has reduced the response time to emergencies and loss of lives.
We established Community Health Units across the county and trained 1,500 Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) 29.
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) account for 27% of deaths and 50% of hospital admissions in Kenya. This has warranted new approaches for prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and cure of cancer, hypertension, diabetes, and kidney conditions among others. We established a Renal Unit at Chuka Hospital to provide hemodialysis for patients with chronic or acute kidney disease. The facility has helped citizens save 60% of the expenses incurred and is recognized as the best in the region thus contributing to the increased referral services in our county.
My administration constructed an oxygen filling plant in Chuka Hospital which produces sufficient oxygen daily for both private and public facilities in Tharaka Nithi County.
We have decentralized TB treatment to our 94 health facilities, and we will continue to work with stakeholders to educate and encourage our people to come forward for free TB testing and treatment. Notably, HIV infections have reduced from 338 in 2018 to 190 cases in 2020, and increased those enrolled for antiretroviral therapy from 77.2% in 2018 to 92.2% in 2021. We have also managed to reduce the mother-to-child transmission from 20.6% in 2018 to 11.4% in 2021.
To ensure that the turnaround time for services to our patients is reasonable, we have installed a Queuing System in Chuka, Marimanti, and Magutuni hospitals. My Administration has also installed a Hospital Information Management System (HMIS) that is integrated into our three main hospitals (Chuka, Marimanti, and Magutuni) has enabled seamless management of our patients’ Data eliminating Manual patient Books and Hospital Registers.
Notably, the construction and equipping of Marimanti Mortuary at Marimanti Level IV Hospital has substantially reduced the emotional suffering and transportation costs from traveling long distances to Chuka and Meru.
The writer is the current Governor of Tharaka Nithi County