KENYA – Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital, the largest pediatric hospital in East and Central Africa, has inaugurated a new cardiac surgery simulation laboratory for training heart surgeons in Muthaiga, Nairobi County in a bid to address shortage of specialists in Kenya.

The Nairobi-based pediatric hospital operates a network of outpatient units in the suburbs around Nairobi County and other parts of Kenya. Moreover, Gertrude’s has provided high standards of pediatric healthcare in East and Central Africa exclusively for children from birth to 21 years of age.

Established in 1947, Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital provides the full range of healthcare services including preventive care, accident and emergency, outpatient care, inpatient medical and surgical care as well as rehabilitation services.

Gertrude’s partnered with financial services conglomerate UAP Old Mutual Old Group earlier this year to roll out a joint campaign aimed at vaccinating insured members against Human papillomavirus (HPV) known to cause cervical cancer.

Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital is licensed and recognised as a Level 5 Healthcare Facility, a Tertiary Referral and Teaching Children’s Hospital. The hospital operates on a self-sustaining financing model through charging fee for services.

In addition, the not-for-profit Children’s Hospital, through the Gertrude’s Hospital Foundation, and M-PESA Foundation recently unveiled their telemedicine initiative dubbed Daktari Smart in Samburu County targeting over 32,000 children in Lamu, Samburu, Homabay and Baringo counties in Kenya.

Gertrude’s Children Hospital has lately entered into a strategic partnership deal with the University of Nairobi and the German Heart Institute to inaugurate the East African Simulation Centre for Cardiovascular Surgery in Muthaiga for cardiology and cardiac surgery training.

Gertrude’s Head of Clinical Services Thomas Ngwiri said that the regional hospital expects the number of children who require treatment to grow rapidly as better diagnosis takes root in many of Gertrude’s medical centres which will create more demand for cardiac surgeons.

The East African Simulation Centre for Cardiovascular Surgery will help improve the skills of cardiac surgery trainees in Kenya as well as complement Gertrude’s initiatives of providing early diagnosis and effective treatment for heart illnesses in children.

Under the deal, University of Nairobi will provide trainers in cardiovascular surgery while the German medical research center will donate the critical medical equipment to improve training for cardiovascular surgery students and professionals.

Cardiovascular surgery describes any surgical procedure that involves the heart or the blood vessels that carry blood to and from the heart. Cardiovascular surgery patients are cared for by a health team that includes a primary care doctor, cardiologist, cardiovascular surgeon, anesthesiologist and other specialists.

The cardiac surgery simulation laboratory for training heart surgeons comes at a time when it is estimated that about 80 percent to 90 percent of children in Kenya who require cardiac surgeries do not receive them partly due to a shortage of surgeons.

The stimulation laboratory offers hands-on training that will allow Gertrude’s Hospital to train more surgeons faster in an effort to bridge the gap in diagnosis and treatment of heart illnesses since Kenya trains four to five heart surgeons annually against a demand of much-needed 20 specialists.

Moreover, the East African Simulation Centre for Cardiovascular Surgery in Muthaiga is expected to grow to serve the whole East African region as well as provide training and skills improvement for cardiac surgeons by inviting professionals to utilize the newly launched facility.

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