Health

Department of Health Mombasa County

Building a progressive, responsive and sustainable health care system for accelerated attainment of the highest standard of health to all

Health transformation boosts healthcare in Mombasa and beyond

Incidences of women in labour and in need of surgical delivery from Likoni enduring the ordeal of crossing the ferry as they were being rushed to the Coast Provincial General Hospital (CPGH) were a common occurrences in the past.

Some of the mothers ended up losing their babies or even losing their lives during the process of transferring them to the referral hospital for a procedure that would easily be done if the local hospitals were equipped with proper facilities and theatre to handle such operations as caesarean section.

Such was the situation in Mombasa before devolution. Besides, many other major operations like open heart surgeries were being referred to Kenyatta National Hospital because the CPGH was not adequately equipped to handle such procedures.

But today, thanks to devolution, the health sector in Mombasa County has undergone major transformation that can be seen all the way from the sub county to the main referral hospital, the CPGH where complex operation procedures are being carried out by highly qualified and professional medical personnel.

The County Chief Officer for Health Dr Khadijah Shikelly says the changes that have taken place in the last five years are remarkable demonstrating that with proper funding and sound management residents can have the best healthcare that they have been dreaming of.

The County Government took over from the national government when they were three different ministries – medical services, public health and local government. Hospitals then were just normal public health facilities but nothing special.

CPGH was a referral hospital but nothing very special apart from a few occasional refurbishments. Areas like Likoni, all women who required caesareans section had to cross the ferry for surgery at the CPGH. There was no theatre at all in Likoni while in Port Reitz, the theatre was on and off hence a lot of pressure was brought to bear on the CPGH.

“Merging all the three ministries into a department of health for the County was not easy but we were able to amicably constitute one vibrant health department that has overseen massive transformation of the health sector in Mombasa

“The first major boost came from none other than the Governor himself, H.E Hassan Ali Joho through the Joho Foundation who together with other well-wishers undertook the refurbishment of one of the decrepit wards-ward 8. The orthopaedic ward was a total mess but was reorganized and refurbished into a clean, modern facility,” adds Dr Shikelly.

This turned around the hospital and through budgetary allocations, charity and funds from coast-sharing the process to modernize the hospital started in earnest and today nearly all the wards have been refurbished, giving them, a brand new look..

Modern equipment for procedures such as endoscopy laparoscopy, dialysis and oncology are now available and manned by highly professional staff most of whom have been trained and re-trained by the County Government.

The hospital had between three to four dialysis machines but now the renal unit has been expanded with 16 dialysis machines making it one of the biggest units in Kenya. Dr Shikelly says that out of these there are two machines in the ICU, meaning that patients who require dialysis do not have to be taken to the renal unit and brought back to the ICU after the procedure.

This period has seen CPGH conduct complex open- heart surgeries which were never done before. Currently, the hospital performs open-heart surgeries after every three months. “We got a specialist from the national government but we have also managed to train nurses and other personnel to help in the surgeries.

“The Cancer centre is another milestone that has been achieved during this period. It has been set up with the support from well-wishers among them the Bamburi Cement,’ she adds.

After devolution the County Government brought in about 10 specialists to handle such cases that require laparoscopic and endoscopic procedures. The County has taken young doctors for training on complex procedures and within the next three years, the CPGH will be run by local doctors.

Likoni Sub County hospital has a theatre and so is Mrima hospital which through the support from the Swiss MSF is offering complete maternity services including caesarean section. Likoni is being expanded to have a 46 bed capacity for maternity. The County is therefore building two sub county hospitals in Likoni that will be able to handle minor surgeries.

To address the chronic drugs problem in Mombasa, the Count6y health department has set up a methadone programme for the drug addicts and to date there are over 800 people on this programme at CPGH and Kisauni. The County Government is planning to establish more methadone centres in Port Reitz, Mwembe Tayari and Likoni.

Health remains one of the sectors that the County Government of Mombasa has immensely invested in with the realisation that a well-functioning and sustainable health system is vital to improving the health status of the people.

“Currently we are directing our energies and resources towards better planning, managing and financing quality health services to meet local needs.  Among the projects in the pipeline include the introduction of a SMART CARD that targets a cover for the elderly as a first phase and later funds allowing scale it up to include women and the poor who lack access to care.

Some of the milestones include the Construction of five level four hospitals – Chaani, Vikwatani, Marimani, Shika Adabu and Mtongwe.

The County has also procured portable Ultra Sound machine for Tudor, Port Reitz District hospital and 6 health centres (Tudor, Mlaleo, Bokole, Annex, Miritini CDF and Mikindani) which has improved obstetric care.

The Coast Provincial General Hospital (CPGH) remains an important referral health facility prompting the County Government to undertake massive investment to provide services that were previously out of reach to many. These specialised services include:

  • Oncology centre for cancer patients
  • Neurosurgery programme started with first neurosurgeon camps done at the hospital
  • Casecsa (Surgical) training –the third cohort taken for training
  • Open heart surgery
  • Renovation of wards

The City of Mombasa has twinned with Megallore in India and already a team from Governor’s office, health and investment travelled to India for international medical tourism. Other benefits from this partnership include training of doctors and a partnership for investment on health, agriculture, industry and water.

The Port Reitz Sub County Hospital has also witnessed development including the renovation of the theatre with surgical, orthopaedic and maternity equipment worth Sh25million. An Obstetrician/Gynaecologist has been posted there thus reducing referral cases to CPGH.

“The County health department has embraced automation with the County referral now fully automated to M-pesa raising the collection from Shs17million to Shs25million. Other facilities that have fully automated their collection include Mvita Health Centre and Kaderbhouy and we are in the process of rolling out to high volume facilities,’ said Dr Shikely.

Recently, the County bought state of the art flogging machines worth Shs15million procured specifically to fight Chikungunya outbreak which has since been contained.

The County Government of Mombasa embraces partnership recognising the important role they play in development. Base Titanium has funded the construction of maternity ward at Likoni hospital at a cost of Sh17.8million; Construction and equipping of maternity theatre at Tudor hospital in partnership with Danish Red Cross at Sh15million; Construction/Rehabilitation of Mrima Health Center, maternity ward to 50 bed capacity in collaboration with Swiss MSF at Sh75million; Installation of new lifts at CPGH that broke down 25 years ago in partnership with Joho foundation at Sh4million.

Despite the strides made so far, however, the health system faces constraints arising from insufficient financial resources, shortage and poor distribution of healthcare workers, legislation and information systems.

 

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