The Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) has operationalized the new renal centre marking a key milestone in the delivery of the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) by providing cheap and accessible renal services.

This comes as a sigh of relief for kidney patients in Kenya and the region at large who used to travel abroad to countries like India and South Africa to seek treatment.

KNH head of the renal department Dr. Patrick Mbugua said that the operationalization of the new centre will go a long way in improving the country’s training and renal treatment as well as saving patients the expensive trips abroad.

“The centre is offering training for different cadres in the medical profession including post-graduate doctors who want to be specialists. Currently, we have 12 doctors training to become specialists with some from countries across the region like Uganda and Botswana,” said Dr. Mbugua.

Speaking during a tour of the hospital by the Presidential Delivery Unit (PDU), Dr. Mbugua explained that before the centre was operationalized, medical students wishing to become specialists would go for training in other countries like India, South Africa and Europe which was expensive.

He highlighted that the centre has a 16 bed capacity with other services like a dialysis clinic, pre-transplant clinic, post-transplant clinic among others.

“We conducted eight kidney transplants between June and December 2021. With the operationalization of the new centre we aim to be doing two to three transplants per week for patients both from Kenya and the region,” said Mbugua.

“The immunology laboratory for tissue matching for kidney donors and the recipients was not available in the country and we used to send the sample to India or South Africa and it would take between one to two weeks to get results. In our new renal centre we are getting results in 24 hours which makes treatment easier and cheaper for our patients,” said Dr. Mbugua.

PDU director in charge of Nairobi region Truphosa Awour said that the government has distributed dialysis machines across the country through managed equipment services and KNH is assisting by training professionals to handle the machines.

Awuor said that affordable health is a key deliverable under the UHC and a success story for KNH is a success for Kenya as a nation.

KNH head of the finance department Dr. Michael Kihuga said that the Cancer Treatment Centre (CTC) is under construction and the first phase is 95 percent complete.

Dr. Kihuga said that the new cancer centre will help address the backlog in treating patients explaining that they have 90 patients on treatment and another 120 on the waiting list and they are in dire need of radiotherapy machines and other facilities like bankers.

“The new Cancer Treatment Centre will boost capacity building in the country since all the other cancer treatment centres across the country depend on KNH for training of doctors and other personnel,” explained Dr. Kihuga.

KNH has also completed the construction of the surgical daycare centre which will be handling minor surgeries like fractures that allow patients to be treated and go home the same day with Dr. Kihuga saying that the move will decongest the main hospital.

By Fred Azelwa.