The county government of Kiambu is set to increase its hospital capacity by close to 1, 600 beds before the end of the year after H.E Dr Kimani Wamatangi revived six multibillion hospital projects which had become white elephants after their construction stalled for years over nonpayment of pending bills.
This is after the governor, who took office in August last year, paid contractors who had abandoned the sites following strained relationship with previous administrations, and has also tendered for elevation of Gachororo and Karuri level three facilities in Juja and Kiambaa respectively to level four by putting up 200-bed wings in each of them.
The projects, once complete will increase the current capacity from 1, 608 to at least 3, 208 beds which the governor says will address congestion, especially with the growing in-flow of patients from neighboring Nairobi, Machakos, Murang’a and Nakuru counties.
The stalled level four projects are, Bibirioni , Lari Lari, Thogoto in Kikuyu, Githunguri as well as expansion of Tigoni and Wangige , with Wamatangi saying work has already resumed in some of the facilities, while in the rest will commence before end June after awarding of the tenders.
“The intention is to have a capacity that can handle the demand of patients. We are also building 13 new dispensaries that will have a 16-bed maternity ward, a mini laboratory and theatre and renovating the existing ones because we want to ensure all our 60 wards so that we can improve on access to quality healthcare in the nearest distance possible,” Wamatangi said.
For instance, the 150-bed Bibirioni Hospital was launched in 2018 at a cost approximately Sh300 million to expand its current capacity of 80 beds.
However, the project, which is a multi-storey facility and sits on a five-acre piece of land, is a pale shade of its idealized vision, which was earmarked to serve over 100, 000 people after the contractor- Gokul Builders, abandoned the site over non-payment of pending bills but works resumed last week.
“We are happy and hopeful that after five years of delay, we will finally have the facility up and running again. We are grateful to the governor for prioritising the projects that had been neglected by the previous administrations,” said area MCA Christopher Ireri.
At Tigoni Hospital, a Sh160 million-project for the construction of a new wing to increase the bed capacity in the facility by 150 beds was launched in 2015 but the contractor had been having a strained relationship with the county government over non-payment, leading to its stalling.
In Kikuyu, Thogoto Hospital was launched over seven years ago and was set to be a state-of-the-art health facility with a bed capacity of 150 beds, but has been a livestock grazing area in the unkempt compound and criminal engaging in looting and vandalizing construction material after the contractor abandoned the site.
The county has already tendered for completion of the project, with Wamatangi saying it will begin before June 30, after the county assembly okayed his supplementary budget that allowed him to spend Sh1.2 billion more on development.
The hospital located at Rukuma, comprised construction of a 200-bed capacity wing at Sh192 million but implementation has stalled for years over pending bills.
Another mega health project set for completion and operationalisation is Githunguri Hospital, a Sh800 million project that was commissioned in 2018 with a capacity of 280 beds. According to designs, it will have a multi-storey modern facility with modern casualty and emergency unit, modern outpatient, maternity, an orthopedic ward, mental health unit, cancer unit, and intensive care unit among other services.
The county has announced plans to finalize the infrastructure bit and also equip it, saying he has already reached out to the Ministry of Health which has agreed to supplement his efforts of procuring state of the art equipment for the facility.
And in Ruiru also lies an unfinished building which is supposed to be the Central medical store. The Governor has renegotiated with the contractor to get back on site.
The store once complete will house the Health Technologies and product unit whereby all non pharmaceuticals and also pharmaceuticals will be stored and monitored through a system making sure that every facility is adequately supplied and incase of the stocks dwindling the system will be able to notify in order for replenishing.
“The contractors are already back on the site after the governor paid his dues and we are looking forward to having the facility up and running in a few months,” CECM in charge of Health Services Dr Elias Maina said.