By Reney Washington
Reprieve for residents in Mt Kenya and North Eastern regions as the Sh1 billion Mwai Kibaki Teaching and Referral Hospital opens its doors to patients, nine years after construction started.
The facility opened its doors to patients in August after the national government deployed staff and delivered equipment.
Public Service Commission chair Stephen Karogo made the announcement during an assessment visit to the Level VI hospital, saying the government had hired 527 workers.
The staff are expected to run the facility but recruitment for more health officers is ongoing.
Mr Kirogo said they target to recruit 1, 357 staff for the facility to ensure that delivery of services is unlimited due to work force constraints.
“The hospital is fully equipped and ready to admit patients with the 527 medics posted here that include the chief executive officer, professionals and support staff,” he said.
The level VI hospital was renamed in honour of retired President Mwai Kibaki since construction started during his tenure.
Mwai Kibaki hospital will be the fourth teaching and referral hospital in the country besides Kenyatta National Hospital, Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital and Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital.
Its construction was started nine years ago by former President Mwai Kibaki at a cost of Sh500million and has gobbled up to Sh1 billion until completion.
The delays to its effectiveness have dragged on since 2013 when works at the facility stalled over claims of misappropriation of funds and inflation of payments to contactors.
Official launch of the 350bed capacity hospital by President Uhuru Kenyatta has been postponed severally since 2017.
Othaya MP Gichuki Mugambi said the health facility be renamed from Othaya Hospital to Mwai Kibaki teaching and referral hospital since he is the one who initiated it.
Governor Mutahi Kahiga said the hospital would help decongest the Nyeri Referral Hospital and other health facilities in the county that have an overflow of patients from other counties.
The level V hospital receives patients from Laikipia, Murang’a and Kirinyaga county while Level VI one will accommodate patients from as far as Meru, Isiolo, Embu and Marsabit counties.
“This is relief for the county’s health system as it well in absorbing the referral we get at the Nyeri referral hospitals and the ease the burden of patients seeking specialized medical services all the way to Kenyatta National Hospital,” he noted.
The national government will run Mwai Kibaki hospital while the Othaya level IV hospital that is around 80 metres away from the referral hospital will be run by the county.
So far, no major operations have been undertaken at the hospital as the government is still stocking it with machines and drugs.