NAIROBI, Kenya Feb 5 – More than Sh100 million would be required to treat victims of the Molo oil tanker tragedy, which has claimed more than 131 lives.
Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) Chief Executive Officer, Dr Jotham Micheni said on Thursday that the cost would be especially high for the patients who require serious surgeries.
He said surgery for the removal of dead tissue had begun on some patients but reconstructive surgery is yet to start.
“Our experience is that burns patients are not treated as a one-off so we are not going to treat them today and tomorrow they are well,” the hospital boss explained.
“Some of them will need serious surgeries and even in a public institution like this (KNH), each patient will require more than Sh1 million,” he added.
“It is a long journey so it is likely that this will be a process, some patients will undergo even ten surgeries.”
Medical Services Minister Professor Anyang’ Nyong’o assured that every patient would be treated as an individual and accorded the best treatment.
“I am going to talk to KEMSA (Kenya Medical Supplies Agency) about the materials needed and I will communicate with the Prime Minister’s and President’s office to make sure that we respond to the needs of the patients and yourselves (medics),” said the Minister.
“Nothing is too difficult to do at this point in time, every life is necessary.”
Speaking when he visited some patients admitted to the referral hospital following the tragedy, the Minister said that the government wants to construct a larger burns centre at the hospital as part of disaster preparedness.
He said the recent fire tragedies in Molo and Nakumatt supermarket that have jointly claimed more than 155 lives were a wake up call for the government to act speedily.
“I think it will now be more urgent to make sure that plans to finish the burns centre are speeded up,” he said.
Professor Nyong’o said the burns unit at the KNH was inadequate, having a bed capacity of only 20 despite being the only burns unit in the country.
Dr Micheni also appealed to the government to ensure standard treatment is offered to all patients involved in the Molo tragedy, who are admitted to various hospitals across the country.
“We are asking that honourable Minister you assist us to think in terms of a massive resource mobilisation as a nation, with focus on what we need to do for these patients and what we need to get in order to give them the best care,” he said.
He added that there was a serious shortage of burn specialists in the country, with seven specialists in the public sector and two in private practice.
Dr Micheni said six of the specialists were at the KNH, while one was stationed at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret.
About 113 patients are admitted to various hospitals across the country following the Molo accident.