By The COAST Newspaper Reporter
Leased medical equipment worth Sh400 million is yet to be utilized three years after they were procured.
Tana River County Director of Health, Dr. Oscar Endekwa, said two fully equipped operation theatres and two equipment sterilization units had not yet been fitted in the earmarked health facilities due to lack of space.
Also not in use is the fully fitted renal unit after two components got damaged on transit to the Hola County Referral Hospital and the supplier is set to replace them when the current heavy rains in parts of the country subside, Dr. Endekwa said.
He said lack of trained staff to run the renal unit had also been an impediment but noted that one nurse had already been trained while a doctor and four other nurses are set to be trained soon.
However, the county has two fully fitted modern radiology units at the Hola Referral Hospital and the Garsen Health Centre, two fully fitted operation theatres at the referral hospital and the Bura Health Centre and one equipment sterilization machine at the referral hospital.
Dr. Endkewa said the equipment procured under the Managed Medical Equipment Scheme, had been set to be installed at the county referral hospital and Garsen Health Centre, but some of them had to be relocated due to lack of space.
The Hola Referral Hospital had been set to receive two fully fitted operation theatres, two equipment sterilization units, a renal (kidney dialysis) unit and a modern radiology unit, but only one operating theatre, one equipment sterilization unit and the modern radiology unit were operational.
He said one of the theatres and an equipment sterilization unit, which had been set to be installed in the modern maternity wing at the hospital, will have to be fitted at the emergency section following a delay in the completion of the maternity wing.
Dr. Endekwa, who was speaking to journalists in his office, said Garsen Health Centre only managed to accommodate the modern radiology unit, forcing the two theatres and equipment sterilization units to be relocated to Ngao Sub County Hospital and Bura Health Centre.
“One of the theatres has already been installed at the Bura Health Centre while the other will be fitted at the Ngao Sub County Hospital, although the two facilities had not been earmarked to benefit from the scheme,” he said.
Also to be installed at the two health facilities are the equipment sterilization units, which are mandatory in hospitals with operating theatres.
“The decision to relocate the equipment to other facilities since the time to install them, as agreed with the supplier, had lapsed and the county could lose the machines to other areas.
Journalists were able to see the modern radiology unit, which experts said was being underutilized due to lack of awareness.
The unit has a modern x-ray machine, an ultra sound machine, a mammogram and a dental x-ray machine (orthopantomogram).
The hospital is however yet to acquire a Computerized Tomology Scan (CT Scan) machines and patients requiring the service have to be referred to other hospitals.
“That explains why we have to refer patients to other facilities despite the fact that we have modern equipment,” the director said.
Dr. Endekwa clarified that the equipment had been leased by the National Government through the Ministry of Health and that the county government was not paying anything to the supplier as earlier believed.
“The procurement was done by the Ministry of Health and the money is being paid by the ministry while the supplier meets the costs of repairs in case of breakdowns,” he said adding, “However, proceeds from use of the equipment will benefit our county.”