Zero ICU Beds, 21 Counties Unprepared for Covid-19 Surge

  • Hospital beds at a Coronavirus isolation and treatment facility in Mbagathi District Hospital on Friday, March 6, 2020.
    Hospital beds at a Coronavirus isolation and treatment facility in Mbagathi District Hospital on Friday, March 6, 2020.
    Simon Kiragu
    KENYANS.CO.KE
  • A report shared on July 8, has revealed that only 26 of the 47 counties have achieved the 300-bed capacity for Covid-19 patients, a minimum requirement set by the Ministry of Health.

    The 26 counties include; Nairobi, Mombasa (442 isolation beds), Machakos (423), Kiambu (325), Uasin Gishu (324), Makueni (312), Kilifi (318), Murang’a (398). Homa Bay (300), Nyeri (340), Kericho (300), Kakamega (302), Mandera (306), Garissa (419), Nakuru (330), Kisii (318), Laikipia (424), Narok (340), Nandi (366), Trans Nzoia (332), Kwale (340), Nyandarua (330), Bungoma (404), West Pokot (337), Kirinyaga (300), and Tharaka Nithi (394).

    The counties that are yet to meet the requirement  are; Kajiado (203), Busia (220), Turkana (154), Embu (145), Meru (124), Bomet (95), Baringo (102), Isiolo (217), Wajir (95), Elgeyo Marakwet (281) Kitui (70), Taita Taveta (143), Marsabit (50), Samburu (246), Tana River (43), Kisumu (87), Lamu (30), Nyamira (195), Migori (175), and Siaya (66).

    Worryingly, Elgeyo Marakwet, Vihiga, Samburu, Tana River, Embu, were highlighted as counties that were yet to acquire a single ICU bed.

    Watch Governor Oparanya briefing on County preparedness below:

    Kirinyaga County is considered a high-risk area as it does not have proper isolation centres.

    The county has only one ICU bed and no High Dependency Unit, with reports revealing that it was banking on the completion of a modern complex at the Kerugoya Referral Hospital in August 2020.

    This came in the wake of Heath Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe announcing that no Covid-19 patients will be airlifted to Nairobi from other Counties.

    “There will be no airlifting of people from other counties to Nairobi since it will not have the capacity. Where we are heading is so unpredictable,” the Health CS stated.

    Speaking during his tour of Makueni County to assess the level of preparedness in the fight against Covid-19, CS Kagwe lauded Governor Kivutha Kibwana's administration which he described as extremely organised, adding that it had demonstrated a high standard of readiness. 

    Makueni achieved the 300-bed isolation capacity alongside (2) ICU and 20 HDU beds, plus (2) quarantine facilities. 

    Health CS Mutahi Kagwe (Centre) touring Makueni county to assess the level of CoVid -19 preparedness on July 8, 2020.
    Health CS Mutahi Kagwe (Centre) touring Makueni county to assess the level of COVID -19 preparedness on July 8, 2020.
    File

    CS Kagwe further reiterated the need to upgrade the level of preparedness at the county level as one that should not only lay focus on physical infrastructure only but also human resource capacity, as well as the level of compliance with the containment measures.

    All counties, except 5, have reported cases of Covid-19 and the Health CS made it clear that it was just a matter of time before all the 47 counties were affected.

    The ministry gave the greenlight to home-based care for asymptomatic patients in June 2020, in a bid to ease the congestion witnessed at health facilities across the country, as the number of Covid-19 cases passed the 8,000 mark.

    Cumulatively, counties had attained a total of about 10,000 isolation beds against the national target of 30,500 units.

    On human resources, Oparanya reported that 38 counties had trained a total of 19,177 health personnel and an additional 64,283 community health volunteers on Covid-19 management.

    Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya addressing the media on March 16, 2020.
    Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya addressing the media on March 16, 2020.
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