President Uhuru Kenyatta inaugurated three state-of-the-art health facilities at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) in Nairobi City County, built and equipped at a cost of Sh1 billion on Wednesday.
The facilities that include the Zarina Merali Surgical Daycare Centre; the Centre for Kidney Disease & Organ Transplantation; and Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics Laboratory, were developed using a mix of Government funds and donations from development partners and philanthropists led by Zarina Merali Foundation.
Speaking during the event, President Kenyatta noted that the inauguration of the facilities demonstrates the vast improvements in the country’s healthcare system achieved during his tenure of office.
“Additionally, this event demonstrates a genuine desire to bequeath current and future generations of Kenyans, with world-class facilities that deliver superlative health services, for all,” President Kenyatta said.
He observed that the new Centre for Kidney Disease & Organ Transplantation will enhance KNH's ‘Interlife’ programme, whose objective is to revamp kidney transplantation services in the country.
So far, the President said KNH had successfully performed over 200 kidney transplants under the interlife programme adding that the new facility will further cement the referral hospital's standing as a regional centre of excellence in the management of kidney diseases in East Africa.
“This facility, which features two fully equipped theatres, a 17-bed capacity ward, a resource centre, clinics, and a seminar room; was established at a cost of KSh 200 million. With this facility in operation, our patients are no longer at risk of infections that could otherwise have interfered with preferred clinical outcomes,” the President said.
On KNH's new Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics Laboratory, the first of its kind in East Africa, the President said the facility will greatly support organ and tissue transplants by conducting donor and recipient matching locally.
“In this state-of-the-art centre, any kidney transplant patient can receive post-transplant care and clinical reviews from our specialists regardless of whether the surgery was done locally or outside the country,” he said.
The Head of State thanked Mrs Zarina Merali, who was present, for her philanthropic contribution to the development of the surgical daycare centre saying, the facility will act as preparation and recovery for patients requiring outpatient surgeries.
He said the facility will assist in faster management of patients, reduce congestion in the wards besides reducing pre- and post-surgical admissions as well as cut down theatre waiting times by enabling same-day surgeries and discharges.
“I have been taken round this facility and I can attest to its state-of-the-art theatres; world class equipment; and its well-trained and dedicated personnel, who, I am assured, are ready to offer a wide range of ambulatory surgeries – that is, cosmetic, dental, gynaecology, and endoscopic surgeries, to name but a few.
“I have further been informed that patients who have undergone surgery through this arrangement are really grateful because they have gone home to recuperate in the comfort of their homes, surrounded by their loved ones; which research has shown leads to better clinical outcomes for patients,” President Kenyatta said.
Saying the Government was keen on making KNH a premier specialist hospital, the President noted that investments made by his administration are now bearing fruit, and urged health workers to remain focused on service delivery.
“As we were going round I was informed by the CEO that as a result of the hospitals that we have built in various estates across Nairobi, the number of walk-in patients who used to congest KNH has come down from about 500 every day to 100, therefore allowing us to focus our attention on making this hospital the premier specialist hospital not only in Kenya but in the region, and that is what we want you to be doing,” he said.
Health CS Mutahi Kagwe, who also spoke at the launch, thanked President Kenyatta for his continued championing of improved healthcare across the country.
"In the last two years, we have done many firsts through your support and encouragement. We have done a first in terms of cancer care in Kenyatta University, Mombasa and in a number of hospitals that are available in Nairobi and we have done a first today and we will continue. This can only be done with the leadership that you provide to us. Without your support, this would not have been possible," CS Kagwe said.
Other speakers included Chairman of the KNH Board of Directors George Ooko, and Mrs Zarina Merali of Zarina Merali Foundation.