Uhuru optimistic about UHC achievement by government

Friday, September 11th, 2020 00:00 |
President Uhuru Kenyatta is conducted on a guided tour of Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral and Research Hospital (KUTRRH). Looking on is Education CS Prof George Magoha and Prof Olive Mugenda. Photo/PSCU

President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday expressed optimism that  his government will achieve the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) goal following the strides made during the Covid-19 crisis.

“As we grapple with the Covid-19 challenge, it is gratifying to know that the health sector has made bold steps towards achieving Universal Healthcare,” he said while officially commissioning the ultra-modern Kenyatta University Teaching Research and Referral Hospital (KUTRRH) yesterday.

Noting that cancer and renal diseases had become a major challenge for the country’s health management and a nightmare to Kenyan families, the President encouraged counties to partner with Level 6 facilities to counter the health threat.

Already Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) has entered a partnership with Othaya Hospital in Nyeri County while Kiambu government signed a pact with KUTRRH for management of Gatundu Level 5 Hospital, which the President said, goes a long way in healthcare management for the parties.

Immense benefits

The 650-bed state-of-the-art research and teaching facility that includes 76- bed cancer (oncology) Centre, Renal Unit, cardiology, physiotherapy and many other specializations will be the first Hospital to operationalise the pure referral model meant to be for highly specialized and emergency cases.

 “The partnerships will be of immense benefits towards UHC and will help reduce the burden of people travelling from Mombasa or Kisumu to Nairobi and instead help them get diagnosis closer home,” President Kenyatta said and asked other county governments to follow suit.

The President who was accompanied by Health CS Mutahi Kagwe, KUTRRH Board Chair Prof Olive Mugenda among other dignitaries said the hospital, which is the country’s Level 6 health facility, was well positioned to become a local hub for medical tourism.

The launch was also marked by the President’s laying of a foundation stone for an Integrated Molecular Imaging Centre (IMIC) and Hospitality Centre, signing of an MoU between Kiambu and KUTRRH as well as a partnership between the hospital and Manchester University, UK. 

Kagwe said even as the world suicide day was marked yesterday, a center has been established at KUTRRH for mental healthcare in order to take care of rapidly rising psycho-social needs of the society.

“KUTRRH is poised to become the only public facility in the East and Central African region to offer comprehensive cancer care with the establishment of an Integrated Molecular Imaging Cancer diagnostic and Treatment Centre,” the CS said.

This centre will have state-of-the-art PET/CT and SPECT/CT technologies that will help in early diagnosis and management of cancer that will be expected to increase the surviving cancer patients, reverse outbound medical tourism while at the same time increasing inbound medical tourism into Kenya. 

According to Prof Mugenda, more than 60,000 patients have been treated at the facility since its opening late last year, with over 4,70 being outpatients.

One of the hospital’s flagship projects is Comprehensive Cancer Care aimed at filling the cancer care gap in the country where more than 3,000 patients have been attended to since its operationalisation in October 2019.

The total numbers of patients attended to through the Cancer outpatient clinic has rapidly risen by about 100 to 150 patients every month, from only 14 at inception to 703 patients in August 2020.

Patients come from all over Kenya with the majority from Kiambu, Nairobi, Nyeri, Meru, Muranga, Kirinyaga, Nyahururu and Laikipia. As we increase service delivery, we expect to stand out as a regional centre of excellence,” Prof Mugenda said.

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