Locals suffer as Isiolo hospitals lack power to run equipment

Wednesday May 13 2020
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The radiology department at Garbatulla Sub-County Hospital in Isiolo on May 11, 2020 where some of the equipment leased from the national government remain unused due to lack of a three-phase power supply. PHOTO | WAWERU WAIRIMU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By WAWERU WAIRIMU

Residents in Garbatulla and Merti sub-counties in Isiolo continue to travel long distances to access various health services even as some of the medical equipment leased by the national government lie idle in various hospitals.

Lack of a three-phase power supply and inadequate personnel are the key hindrances to provision of crucial services in the two far-flung sub-counties.

In Garbatulla, residents have to incur extra expenses travelling to Isiolo town, about 150 kilometres away, to access imaging services as the radiology equipment at the sub-county hospital is not operational.

ANNUAL FEE

Among the equipment leased under the Managed Equipment Service (MES) include aesthetic machines, mammogram and ultrasound machines for which the Governor Mohamed Kuti’s administration has to pay Sh200 million annually.

The equipment were delivered four years ago.

Most theatre equipment at Merti Sub-County Hospital are not in use due to lack of a three-phase power supply system, forcing patients to seek the services at the Isiolo Referral Hospital.

NO THREE-PHASE POWER

A Senate ad hoc committee chaired by Senator Fatuma Dullo toured hospitals in the county in November 2019 and established that most of the multi-million shillings machines, including those that do not require three-phase power supply, were still packed in cartons.

A computerised tomography (CT-Scan) machine and mammogram at the Garbatulla hospital are among those not working due to lack of experts to run them.

In some hospitals, the equipment cannot be used as there are no health workers to handle them or those present have not been adequately trained to handle them.

NOT PREPARED

The delay in the operationalisation of the machines points to lack of preparedness by counties prior to rolling out of the MES programme, raising concerns why some counties agreed to receive the equipment while they had no personnel to run them.

Among the leased operational equipment at the Isiolo Referral Hospital include ultrasound, radiography and dialysis machines.

Garbatulla MCA Abdi Sora lamented over the delay by the county government to upgrade the power system at the Garbatulla hospital to allow the running of the machines.

“I am appealing to the county government to expedite the upgrade of the power supply so that the radiology machine can be operational to save our people from the struggle of seeking the imaging services elsewhere,” said Mr Sora.

DELAYS BY KENYA POWER

Speaking on the matter, Isiolo Health Executive Wario Galma said the county was forced to divert Sh1.4 million it had previously set aside for the power upgrade following delays by Kenya Power company to start the work.

“We previously had a challenge with the power supplier but we will ensure the supply is upgraded soonest possible,” Mr Wario said.

Recruitment of more workers including doctors was recently stopped by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission due to lack of a properly constituted County Public Service Board.

The board has been operating with no secretary and a nominee to fill the position will be vetted by the county assembly this week.

Governor Kuti said a doctor, four nurses and two clinical officers will be deployed to the Garbatulla hospital this week to upscale its preparedness in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.