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Economy

Medical kits idle in 25 counties over water, power

Chairpersons of Senate ad hoc committee investigating Managed Equipment Services Moses Wetangula
Chairpersons of Senate ad hoc committee investigating Managed Equipment Services Moses Wetangula and Fatma Dulo on Monday. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG 

Theatre and radiology equipment leased to devolved units for specialised healthcare are lying idle in 25 counties due to a lack of electricity and water in the hospitals.

The report by Ministry of Health to the Senate’s ad hoc committee probing the Medical Equipment Services raises concerns on the lack of basic amenities such as electricity and water for the project in which billions of shillings have so far been spent.

The ministry said unreliable electricity and a shortage of trained personnel, inadequate anaesthetics as well as rooms have rendered 11 theatres, 16 radiology equipment and a renal unit idle even as counties continue to pay millions of shillings every year.

Elgeyo Marakwet and Samburu counties have two idle theatres a-piece and one in Tana River, Wajir, Trans-Nzoia, West Pokot, Vihiga, Murang’a and Machakos.

“Lack of electricity, water, anaesthetics and theatre nurses are the main challenges,” the ministry said about Garsen Hospital (Tana River) and Baragoi (Samburu).

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The Health ministry added that two radiology kits were idle in West Pokot and one radiology kit in Siaya, Elgeyo Marakwet, Isiolo, Tana River, Kisii, Migori, Nyamira, Mombasa, Makueni, Kitui, Bomet, Meru, Tharaka Nithi and Trans-Nzoia counties.

The renal equipment installed at Kapenguria Hospital had been rendered idle due to the lack of electricity and connection to the sewer line.

Counties will pay Sh131.9 million in the year to June 2020 for the leases as taxpayers lose millions of shillings under the project.

The devolved units each paid Sh95.7 million for the kits every year in the 2015/16, 2016/17 and 2017/18 financial years.

This increased to Sh200 million annually in the year ended June after the increase of 21 county and three national hospitals under the project.

The national government rolled out the Medical Equipment Services to lease theatre equipment, renal kits, ICU equipment and radiology equipment to the counties for specialised treatment for ailments such as cancer and diabetes.

Shenzhen Mindray Bio-Medical Electronics Limited, Esteem Industries, Bellco SRL, Phillips East Africa Limited and General Electric East Africa Limited were contracted to provide the kits for Sh38 billion.

The five firms have already pocketed Sh26.77 billion even as the kits continue to lie idle amid counter-accusations between the ministry and counties over a lack of consultation before the project launch.

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