, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 3 – Medical Services Minister Anyang’ Nyong’o has promised to allocate Sh40 million to the National Spinal Injury Hospital in the 2009/2010 financial year to assist in its expansion programme.
Prof Nyong’o said on Tuesday that the hospital, which is the only spinal injury facility in East and Central Africa, has a bed capacity of 30 and over 100 patients were currently on the waiting list to be admitted.
“I know that Kenyans are asking a lot of questions and making a lot of demands about the health services, but let me remind you that there has not been very substantial investment in infrastructure in the health sector for the last 25 years,” the Minister revealed.
He said that this has posed a challenge because most patients took up to six months in the hospital delaying other admissions.
“What has been there are repairs done here and there but a concerted systematic effort to assess the gaps that exist in the infrastructure has not been done for quite some time,” he added.
The Minister said that careless road accidents accounted for the highest cause of spinal injuries at 60 percent, followed by fall from height into depths at 20 percent and gunshots and stabs at 15 percent.
“It means therefore if we are to build a 40-bed capacity here (National Spinal Injury Hospital) we need another two of similar capacity to respond to our national needs and the need within the region,” Professor Nyong’o said.
“We are in discussion with the Red Crescent of Iran who are very interested in putting up another hospital in Kenya and I hope that if we do agree, that facility will also have a spinal injury unit.”
Elsewhere, the Medical Services Minister called on aspiring professionals in the medical field to venture into unique specialties like surgery.
Speaking when he received a team of eye specialists from the United States, Professor Nyong’o said venturing into such fields would help bridge the gap that existed in the country.
“The team of eye specialists will operate from a state of the art DC-10 aircraft, which has been converted into an eye hospital,” he said.
Prof Nyong’o said that the two-week eye surgery exercise and screening of patients would be done at the Kenyatta National Hospital while the Flying Hospital would be based at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
“The Flying Eye Hospital is linked to communication theatres and is fully equipped with modern surgical machines that will be used to operate people with eye problems,” he said.
“It will also be used in training local students in occuloplastic and cosmetic surgery, paediatric cataract surgery, glaucoma, laser treatment for diabetic eye disease, and organ transplantation procedures and practices.”