Two new dispensaries, Matandara in Mwea and Riakithiga in Gichugu constituency, which were inaugurated several months ago by Governor Anne Waiguru, have witnessed a remarkable upsurge in the number of patients seeking medical services.

These facilities, established as part of an ambitious program by the county government, have provided significant relief to local residents who previously had to embark on lengthy journeys to access healthcare.

Matandara dispensary, operational since May, has successfully served approximately 10,000 patients in its first four months of operation, while Riakithiga, which opened its doors in July, has attended to over 6,500 patients within the same time frame.

A lab technician carries out a test at the newly opened Laboratory at Riakithikiga Dispensary. PHOTO/COURTESY

Governor Waiguru emphasized the importance of strong primary healthcare at the dispensaries, stating that it would alleviate congestion at higher-level health institutions. This, in turn, would allow level four and five hospitals to efficiently manage more complex health issues.

Furthermore, Governor Waiguru highlighted her administration's commitment to achieving universal health coverage through substantial investments in healthcare infrastructure.

Notably, the Council of Governors (CoG) Chair highlighted key achievements towards universal health coverage, including the recent opening of the Kerugoya Level Five Hospital Medical Complex and the upgrades of Kianyaga and Kimbimbi to level four hospitals.

Margaret Nyambura, a nurse at Matandara Dispensary, revealed that the facility now serves an average of 90 patients daily.

Nyambura explained that the reduced congestion has enabled healthcare providers to detect ailments that were previously underdiagnosed due to overcrowding.

"We are able to detect ailments that were previously not highly detected due to congestion and the high number of people flocking in the hospital," Nyambura said.

Reuben Mugera, a local resident and beneficiary of this initiative, expressed his satisfaction with the new dispensary.

Before its opening, Mugera had to spend £200 on transportation to reach Kimbimbi Hospital, located 4.1 kilometres away, for medical services.

He would sometimes resort to private hospitals due to the overwhelming patient load at Kimbimbi.

The new dispensary has not only improved healthcare access but has also generated employment opportunities for young medical professionals.

Similar sentiments of joy and gratitude have been echoed at Riakithiga dispensary, situated in Kabare Ward, Gichugu Constituency.

This level 2 facility has also experienced a steady influx of patients since its inception.

The Nurse in. Charge of Matandara Dispensary attends to a patient at the facility. PHOTO/COURTESY

Beth Karuana Njiiri, a laboratory technician at Riakithiga dispensary, emphasized the facility's role in saving residents from the burden of long-distance travel and exorbitant costs associated with medical tests.

The laboratory's early detection capabilities have further improved healthcare services, leading to faster diagnosis and treatment.

Joseph Kamau, a Riakithiga village resident, lauded the addition of the laboratory.

He revealed that prior to its establishment, he had to spend £200 on travel to either Kerugoya or Kianyaga Hospital, located 11 and 13 kilometres away respectively, for comprehensive medical services.

With the local dispensary's services now available, residents are grateful for the convenience and accessibility of healthcare closer to home.

The launch of these two dispensaries in Kirinyaga County has undeniably brought relief to residents, significantly reducing travel expenses, and improving healthcare services through early detection and timely treatment.

These developments represent a significant step towards the realization of universal health coverage in the region.