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Leased medical equipment changing lives in Machakos.

The medical equipment leased to Machakos county by the national government is changing lives through better care, a team of state officers has said.

All the machines are functional but understaffing is stifling the county's ability to realise their full potential.

The County Development Implementation and Coordination Committee said that the Sh814 million specialised equipment has improved services. The team visited the Machakos Level-5 Hospital to assess the Managed Equipment Service.

Under the MES programme is an arrangement between the county and national governments. The Health ministry says its "main benefit is access to innovative medical technology and equipment to bring services closer to the people."

The ministry targetted a county hospital and one subcounty facility in each devolved unit. The programme, whose implementation started in 2014, had sparked controversy after some devolved units rejected it, saying they had not been consulted. Some said it was not their priority, while others said they had no personnel to operate the machines.

Machakos has installed theatre equipment, two sterilisation machines, surgical sets, a renal set, and imaging and radiology equipment. Others are a digital and portable X-ray machine, a digital ultrasound machine, an MRI scanner, an image intensifier, a C-Arm machine, and a digital dental X-ray machine.

Also provided under the scheme were a mammography machine, operating beds, orthopedic attachments diathermy, anesthetic machines, and a baby resuscitaire.

The committee, led by Larry Mulomi from the Presidential Delivery Unit and Patricia Nthiwa from the county commissioner's office, noted, however, that the machines' full potential had yet to be realised. They blamed this on inadequate specialists.

'Our main challenge is understaffing, but all in all we are trying to fully put the machines to good use,' hospital boss Alvis Wachira told the team.

He thanked the national government for the equipment, saying patients have benefitted greatly.

'We're now carrying out some of the specialised tasks that hitherto required that we refer our patients to Kenyatta National Hospital or other major hospitals in Nairobi and elsewhere for attention or surgery,' Wachira said, citing renal dialysis, computerised dental surgery, mammography, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, among others.

The hospital received two sterilisation machines which are fully operational, a new renal unit has been set up, while the radiology and theater were fully operational. An image intensifier, a C-Arm machine and an MRI scan are also in place and operational as well as a digital dental x-ray machine, digital ultrasound machine, a digital and a portable x-ray.

The team urged the county government to identify all areas that need specialists and staff them.

Patients interviewed by the Kenya News Agency during the visit praised the equipment. The joy expressed by an old man who requested anonymity summed up the transformation

'I used to go and queue for days in Nairobi every week for dialysis but now I get here instantly,' he said.

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Publication:The Star (Nairobi, Kenya)
Date:Jun 4, 2019
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