With these new facilities, the hospital will extend referral services to 100 district and sub-district hospitals and save many critically ill patients from the painful experience of having to cover long distances after being referred to Eldoret or Nairobi.
The Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital (JOOTRH) is the major referral hospital that is located in Kisumu County. It serves a population of more than five million with more than 100 district and sub-district hospitals in Western Kenya, a region that has some of the worst health indicators for maternal and child morbidity and mortality that are higher than the national average. Almost 200,000 outpatient visits are recorded per year, with around 21,000 people admitted as in-patients.
The hospital’s 467 beds are almost continuously occupied. The highest bed occupancy is in surgical wards and gynaecology, which are 149 per cent and 146 per cent respectively. Increasingly, the hospital is receiving trauma patients from motorcycle accidents (‘boda boda’), a popular mode of transport in the area.
Despite the high amount of trauma cases, the region lacks a well-equipped public hospital with an ICU ward. This has resulted in a number of patients being referred to Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH), which is 100 kilometres away and, therefore, only accessible to patients who can foot the cost of the transfer.
On Friday September 18, the JOOTRH launched an expanded intensive care unit (ICU), which is expected to serve more than five million people. The hospital has added dialysis machines, an infant care unit, ventilators, monitors and a renal unit to the new ICU. With these new facilities, the hospital will extend referral services to 100 district and sub-district hospitals and save many critically ill patients from the painful experience of having to cover long distances after being referred to Eldoret or Nairobi.
“We are now able to support all patients who need to be on ventilation and can now attend to multiple trauma patients at the same time,” said Dr. Juliana Otieno of JOOTRH. “We are better equipped to save lives.”
The new unit is a result of the JOOTRH’s partnership with the Centre for Public Health and Development (CPHD), Assist International and the GE Foundation. The partnership’s approach to financing this vital service is an example of an innovative financing mechanism that aims to provide quality healthcare to people who need it most.
“We are thankful to the GE Foundation and Assist International for being vigorous supporters of healthcare services in this country,” said Dr. Bernard Olayo, the Executive Chair of CPHD. “Together, we can achieve a lot in improving the quality of health of people in this country.”
Speaking during the launch Isaiah Okoth from General Electric said: “We are happy to partner on this project, which will help transform the healthcare system in Western Kenya. Working with CPHD and AI, we have invested more than US $3 million in various programmes to improve safe surgery and anaesthesia.”
Ideally, each bed in an ICU should have a complete set of associated monitoring equipment, suction apparatus, infusion pumps and a ventilator. The set-up is necessary for the ICU staff to closely monitor a patient’s condition. At the JOOTRH, monitoring has improved greatly with the new unit. “We can now have continuous ECG, invasive blood pressure monitoring and continuous ETCO2 monitoring,” said Dr Oduor.
GE Foundation has invested more than three million dollars in Western Kenya’s public health system through Centre for Public Health and Development CPHD and Assist International (AI) in equipment and training. This effort aims to improve safe surgery and anaesthesia through the training of 30 nurse anaesthetists.
The CPHD is a non-profit organisation based in Kenya that is supported by the GE Foundation through Assist International. The CPHD aims to improve the quality of health services that seek to fast-track the attainment of Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5, reducing the child and maternity mortality rates. This is done by maximising the detection and prevention of disease at its earliest stages possible through the promotion of healthcare technology and innovations.
At the launch of the new unit, Governor Jack Raguma applauded the collaboration between the county and the Centre for Public health and Development with the support of The GE Foundation. “Today marks an important chapter in the delivery of health care in Kisumu County, especially to the marginalised, the women, children and disabled,” he said.
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