Isn’t it saddening that we often look back at the bygone years with nostalgia, and referring to them as “the good old days”? Why should life 20 years ago appear better than the present despite all the technological advancement?
I am particularly worried by my own memories of the early to mid 80s when district hospitals and dispensaries worked efficiently.
When the original planners of Nairobi City burnt the midnight oil, they were not chewing miraa or clicking wine glasses at work, they really worked. Look at the initial Nairobi estates; each was designed to be self sufficient. For example, take a trip around Ofafa Jericho, Ofafa Maringo, Jerusalem, Mbotela, Makadara or Kaloleni. Each of these estates was designed with ample provision for a shopping centre, churches, schools, a dispensary and even social halls!
A dispensary in either of these estates was well equipped and well staffed.
And should I even talk of the Pumwani Maternity hospital? How many of those who were born in Nairobi bear the stamp of Pumwani on their birth certificates? A very big percentage, I will have you know.
In those days, Pumwani worked well, unlike now when we hear stories of babies whose noses are disfigured in botched deliveries.
So, what happened? How comes residents of the above mentioned estates will now easily find themselves on a queue at Kenyatta National Hospital? KNH was designed to be a referral hospital where critical cases are posted for highly specialised care.
To its credit, the government has recently embarked on re-equipping the district hospitals and dispensaries. A major hospital is under construction in Kayole. Now, what is missing from this picture is the construction of more dispensaries in a well-calculated population to facility ratio.
It is my opinion that if we constructed more of these facilities, it would help ease pressure off Kenyatta Hospital and others, meaning that a patient with multi-drug resistant TB, for example, would get the proper attention they require to recuperate.
It is time KNH reverted to its intended purpose.