President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday night commissioned 5 new health facilities in Nairobi County in a move that caught many residents by surprise igniting debate.
The new health facilities are part of 24 others being constructed by the Nairobi Metropolitan Service (NMS).
Their construction is part of the bigger plan by the government to decongest Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH), Mama Lucy Hosopital, Mbagathi Hospital and Pumwani Hospital.
2 level 2 hospitals were launched in Gatina, Kawangware and Gichagi, Kangemi as well as other level 3 hospitals in Tassia kwa Ndege, Mukuru kwa Reuben, Mukuru kwa Njenga (Our Lady of Nazareth)
Uhuru was accompanied by the NMS Director General Mohammed Badi and several other Government officials on his 4-hour night mission.
He directed public Hospitals within Nairobi to offer 24-hour services to ensure Nairobi residents have access to health services as needs arise.
“The dispensaries and level 2 health facilities should operate 24 hours’ services in order to decongest Kenyatta National Hospital and Mama Lucy Hospital. Instead of someone using money to go and seek medical services at Kenyatta National Hospital, they need to access these services at the facilities which are near them,” Uluru said.
The head of state told the journalists who accompanied him that his choice to commission the new health facilities at night was to adhere to the Covid-19 protocols.
“We went at night because we wanted to ensure that we were observing Covid-19 protocols. As you have seen for yourselves, it would have been impossible to go and do what we did today, during the day because of the number of people who would have been out there. It would have been very difficult for us to do the job we wanted to do and at the same time observe Covid protocols that the government has put in place,” he said.
The resident also observed that most city health facilities only operate during the day making it impossible for residents to access much needed healthcare at night “We also discovered that Nairobi hospitals open at 8am and were closing at 6pm.
Meaning that if somebody got sick or was in need of medical attention after 6pm the only medical facility they could access was Kenyatta National Hospital.
“So we decided it was important that these hospitals that we are building operate on a 24 hours’ basis. This is what we also wanted to see whether it was possible both on accessibility point of view and staffing point of view,” Uhuru added.
Uhuru also announced that 19 out of the 24 new hospitals being constructed by NMS were complete saying, plans were underway to adequately resource for 24-hour operations.