The popular narrative that emergency expenditure on Covid-19 only served to open opportunities of rural elite and government officials to make money corruptly only tells one side of the story.
However, we have learnt that in Nandi County, the most consequential and lasting result of the emergency expenditure on pandemic is the improved quality and quantity of essential and critical medical infrastructure now available within hospitals in the county.
Nandi County received about Sh200 million Covid-19 funds from the National government and other development partners, with a good part of the money being spent of procurement of 10 ICU beds. Seven beds were given to the largest hospital facility within the county, the Kapsabet County referral hospital and the remaining three were installed at Nandi Hills sub county hospital.
Our investigations during a spot check on the facilities revealed that all the 10 ICU beds were still operational.
The ICU beds and other facilities procured during pandemic period also improved capacity of hospitals and staff to handle complex surgeries.
The empowerment of the ICU unit, sufficient oxygen and doctors on call for instance made it possible for the first successful brain surgery to be done at the County referral hospital this month.
Recently Dr. Ismael Ayabei, Kapsabet Medical Superintendent led a team in conducting a three-hour emergency surgery on Charles Mwandi, 67.
In an interview with KNA, Dr Ayabei said: 'Kapsabet hospital is now able to handle critical cases because of improved medical facilities.'
He said the emergency spending on Covid-19 also allowed the county administration to hire more medical personnel among them nurses, specialists and clinical officers.
As a result, he said referral cases to Moi Teaching and Referral hospital in Eldoret, some 50 km away have reduced by more than 80 percent, while Kidney patients no longer need to travel long distances for dialysis as the services are available at Kapsabet hospital.
Nancy Chebet, a former frontline medic disclosed over 1,300 health care providers who were recruited and trained during Covid-19 have given a boost to the lean staff.
According to Chebet, the county administration ensured in every sub county, one hospital was identified and modern and latest equipment's installed to offer effective and quality primary health care to locals.
During the pandemic, Chebet said Kemsa dispatched 104 consignment of masks; 1,000 non-woven mask, 1,585 face shields, 750 surgical gowns, 240 KN95 and 2 ventilators to the county to fight the pandemic.
Among the 130 health facilities in the county including private hospitals, four Sub County hospitals acted as isolation centres. These include Nandi hills, Mosoriot, Kobujoi and Meteitei where 312 units were created to serve Covid patients.
Besides the increase in the number of beds and personnel at various hospitals, 10 ambulances were also unveiled to help out during the pandemic.
Mathew Kipkoech, a resident of Kapsabet town stated that initially the County referral hospital used to offer poor services, lacked medicine, and even the hospital could go without water for a day, but things started to fall into place during Coronavirus era.
'We used to be scared of going to Kapsabet Hospital, but today, even the outlook of the hospital makes patients have hope. It was a dirty place full of all kinds of dirt, but now the county has rehabilitated wards that made the hospital environment clean,' he said
The modernization of the hospital, which a few years ago appeared to be an abandoned facility has paid off.
Kipkoech can now smile going to the facility because he will be able to wash his hands at various water points and get better services. The medical personnel are also friendly and ready to serve.
During our visit to Mosoriot Sub County hospital in Chesumei, we established that plans are underway to expand and upgrade the facility to a Level Four hospital.
The medical facility serves a huge population as it strategically located in a centre of many learning institutions among them Mosoriot TTC, Mosoriot KMTC, and Koitalel Samoei University.
Nandi has also put into full use the equipment's supplied by the national government under the Managed Equipment Service Programme. The modern equipment includes digital scanners, X-ray machines and dialysis machines among others installed at the Kapsabet Hospital.
While on a visit to Kabiyet sub county hospital in Mosop, one will notice a newly commissioned modern maternity wing which house both antenatal and prenatal clinics.
The new unit consist of a spacious labor ward and baby unit to handle pre mature births and birth related complications.
They are fully equipped with modern facilities such as incubators, defibrillators, respirators, resuscitators and baby cots for the safety for the safety of mothers and their infants.
According to the Special audit report of the Auditor General on Covid-19 vaccines Roll out as at 31st, March 2022, Nandi County received its first consignment of 6,600 doses of Astra Zeneca-Oxford Covid 19 Vaccines in March 2021 through Eldoret Regional Vaccines Store.
The County subsequently received more vaccine doses of Moderna (27,476) doses, Johnson andJohnson (96,900), Pfizer (25,740) and more Oxford/ AstraZeneca (135,349) doses all totaling to 285, 465 doses
The doses were first administered at Emgwen and Tinderet sub counties, before being rolled out to the other sub county stores and administering facilities.
According to our findings, construction works are ongoing at Meteitei sub county hospital in Tinderet Sub County, which is also being upgraded to a Level Four hospital.
The maternity wing is in its final stages and once complete it will address the critical problem of long waiting hours and delayed surgeries.
Nandi Governor Stephen Sang during the launch of oxygen plant at Nandi hills sub county hospital. Looking on are county health officials.
The pandemic also led to the establishment of a Sh500 million Mother and Baby facility with 350-bed capacity. The hospital which is the largest of its kind built by the county at Kapsabet town is at 95 percent completion.
Nandi Governor Stephen sang noted that affordable healthcare accessibility is the county's foremost commitment and his administration was wholeheartedly devoted to strengthening the sector through enhanced infrastructure and workforce.
Speaking in Nandi hills sub county hospital during the launch of second oxygen plant, Sang said the hospital will now have a reliable and constant supply of medical oxygen, which will ensure that critically ill patients receive timely and appropriate medical attention.
'This is part of our larger plan to strengthen the healthcare system in Nandi County and provide affordable and accessible healthcare services to all our citizens. We believe with a health population, other development programmes will run smoothly and people will be able to easily overcome diseases and poverty which are key challenges,' he said
Source: Kenya News Agency