President William Ruto Tuesday opened the largest medical complex in Kirinyaga County elevating Kerugoya County Referral Hospital from a Level 4 to a Level 5 health facility.
The state-of-the-art Medical Complex that was opened on Tuesday takes the county’s medical care a notch higher by offering a full spectrum of specialized services for which residents would earlier be referred to facilities outside the county.
The President who was accompanied by his Deputy Rigathi Gachagua congratulated Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru for implementing a project that he termed as iconic and one that has demonstrated that healthcare is better delivered by county governments.
“The healthcare function will and has been better managed by the county governments and if anyone needs a testimony and confirmation of the same, they should see the hospital that has been built by the County Government of Kirinyaga”, said the president.
He said that even though the project had faced a lot of opposition at the initial stages, Waiguru’s determination and bravery made it possible to get it accomplished. “A good thing cannot be seen at once but you need a long term vision to accomplish it”. He noted.
At the same time, President Ruto assured Kenyans that the national government has no interest in taking over the health function from counties. He said that it will instead support the county governments to deliver quality and affordable healthcare to the people. “We have a comprehensive plan on how better to address issues surrounding the welfare of medics and we want to have a seamless intergovernmental working relationship that will enable us implement various reforms in the health sector”. Ruto said.
Some of the areas in which the president said the two levels of government will collaborate include equipping of hospitals, formulation of policy and financing framework involving the Facility Improvement Fund and capacity building and remuneration of Community Health Promoters.
He also said that they will form an advisory council that will deal with matters of counties’ medical workers.
Governor Waiguru said that the hospital project that has been fully funded by the County Government was part of fulfilling the county’s development blueprint-The Mountain Cities 2032 which designates Kirinyaga Central constituency as the Wellness City.
She added that it was the culmination of her administration’s effort to improve accessibility and affordability to quality healthcare services to residents of Kirinyaga County.
Some the services offered at the 341 bed capacity hospital include specialist consultancy in pediatrics, ENT, oncology, dermatology, orthopedics, medical outpatient clinic, surgical outpatient, neuro-pediatric clinic, obstetrics and gynecology. The hospital also has a 12 bed ICU and a 12 HDU and has all its beds fitted with oxygen.
After touring the hospital, the president promised to support governor Waiguru by deploying five critical care nurses to work at the new Intensive Care Unit and also help in additional equipment.
Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua on his part said that governor Waiguru had not let down the people of Kirinyaga and has lived to her promise of transforming the county. “She does many things but the hospital will be a lasting legacy in her leadership in Kirinyaga County”. Said the DP.
Governor Waiguru said that the accomplishment of the project is a demonstration that devolution works and if adequately supported, counties will be able to provide affordable and accessible healthcare to the citizens.
“As the Chairperson of the Council of Governors, I can assure you that the devolution of healthcare services has had a significant impact. For the last ten years, County Governments have invested heavily in healthcare service delivery, human resource development, equipment of health facilities as well as health infrastructure development. Consequently, over 90% of Kenyan population currently live within five kilometers or one-hour travel time to a health facility”, she said.
Waiguru thanked the national government for support in terms of technical advice noting that the intergovernmental approach had contributed to the overall delivery of high-quality healthcare facility. She also thanked the project implementation team that included the county departments of public works, health and finance.
The Cabinet Secretary for Health, Dr. Nakumicha Wafula, said that she was very proud of Governor Waiguru not just because she is a woman but because she has demonstrated that women can work. “My sister Anne, I salute you”, she said.
She added that the hospital had been assessed and had met all the requirements for elevation to a level five facility. A Level Five Certificate was issued to Governor Waiguru.
Dr. Nakumicha observed that many health projects are started but they stall after sometime but the Kirinyaga one had been completed and well equipped to serve the public.
Other leaders present at the function hailed the governor for successfully implementing a project of such a magnitude. “I have not seen a leader who works as hard as Waiguru. She is visionary, resilient, determined and focused” Said Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja, noting that even Nairobi County doesn’t have a public health facility with such high standards.
His sentiments were echoed by Tharaka Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki who is also the Chair of the Health Committee at the Council of Governors (COG). “We came to Kirinyaga today to witness that devolution works”, he said pointing out that Waiguru’s leadership capability is what made governors elect her to lead the COG.
Ndia and Kirinyaga Central Members of Parliament George Kariuki and Gachoki Gitari respectively congratulated the governor for the hospital project saying that county residents will now stop being medical tourists to other counties.
The function was also attended by Members of the County Assembly and thousands of Kirinyaga residents.