Residents beam with joy over milestones in health sector
5 months ago, 18 Mar 01:38
When Musa Marusoi, 71, suddenly fell ill two months ago and visited Kericho County Referral Hospital, he was diagnosed with a heart condition that needed surgery. The news shocked him. First, he had the understandable fear of going under a surgeon’s knife on the body’s most vital organ. Secondly, he could not immediately raise the Sh500,000 needed for the procedure soon enough. While his family scratched their heads on how to raise the amount, the regional government announced that there would be free heart surgeries at the referral hospital, being conducted in partnership with doctors from the US. HEART SURGERY When Sunday Nation caught up with him recuperating after the procedure, the septuagenarian could not hide his joy after the operation was successful and that “the doctors have managed to take away his pain”. “I am so happy that I have received medication and I’ll be forever grateful,” he said. “I have had this problem for a month. I fell sick suddenly and came to the county hospital where the problem was discovered. Luckily, these doctors came and took away my pain.” Mr Marusoi was one of the 20 patients who benefited from the successful heart surgery done by a team of cardiologists from Michigan State University and their local counterparts. Kericho marked a milestone as the first ever cardiac pacemaker implantation procedure was done during a week-long free medical camp. The procedure would have cost each of the patients at least Sh500,000 in private hospitals. HEALTHCARE At least seven counties have in the past four years performed milestone procedures, which included caesarean births as well as brain and heart surgeries, most of which were once a preserve of major hospitals in the country and international health facilities. From Embu to Lamu, Makueni to Garissa, Kakamega to Mandera, the devolved units have been lauded for improving access to quality healthcare services to residents. READ: KNH doctors re-attach boy's severed hand - VIDEO READ: Doctors carry out first brain surgery in Embu Some, like Garissa and West Pokot, have been celebrated for increasing the number of deliveries within health facilities and reducing maternal mortality rates through a raft of innovative measures. Garissa County introduced maternal shelters, kits, incentives for traditional birth attendants and community health workers and the use of WhatsApp messaging to connect health facilities. Prof Winnie Mitulah, an expert on policy, sums up the achievements in health as a realisation of the benefits of devolution, whose intention was to bring services closer to residents. “Some of these things were dreams that we never thought would be achieved. "But the little that we are seeing in counties, despite the challenges that a number of them faced in the early years, is commendable and a sign of greater things to come,” the University of Nairobi don said. DEVOLUTION Besides infrastructure, health has been hailed as one of the best success stories of devolution and the back-bone of development in the regional governments. Devolution has improved accountability and service delivery as officials ...
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