KENYA – The Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) has opened a new renal center, marking an important step forward in the delivery of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) by providing affordable and accessible renal services.

This is a sigh of relief for kidney patients in Kenya and the region at large, who previously had to travel to countries such as India and South Africa for treatment.

Dr. Patrick Mbugua, the KNH’s head of the Renal Department, stated that the new center’s operationalization will go a long way toward improving the country’s training and renal treatment, as well as saving patients from costly trips abroad.

The center is offering training for different cadres in the medical profession including post graduate doctors who want to be specialists. Currently we have 12 doctors training to become specialists with some from countries across the region like Uganda and Botswana,” said Dr. Mbugua.

Dr. Mbugua explained during a tour of the hospital by the Presidential Delivery Unit (PDU) that before the center was operationalized, medical students wishing to become specialists had to travel to other countries such as India, South Africa, and Europe for training, which was costly.

Dr. Mbugua emphasized that the center has a 16-bed capacity and offers services such as a dialysis clinic, a pre-transplant clinic, and a post-transplant clinic, among others.

We conducted eight kidney transplants between June and December 2021. With the operationalization of the new center we aim to be doing two to three transplants per week for patients both from Kenya and the region,” said Mbugua.

The immunology laboratory for tissue matching for kidney donors and the recipients was not available in the country and we used to send the sample to India or South Africa and it would take between one to two weeks to get results. In our new renal center, we are getting results in 24 hours which makes treatment easier and cheaper for our patients,” said Dr. Mbugua

Truphosa Awuor, PDU Director in Charge of the Nairobi Region, stated that the government has distributed dialysis machines across the country via managed equipment services, and KNH is assisting by training professionals to operate the machines.

According to Awuor, affordable health care is a key deliverable under the UHC, and a success story for KNH is a success story for Kenya as a whole.

Dr. Michael Kihuga, head of the Finance Department at KNH, stated that the Cancer Treatment Centre (CTC) is under construction and that the first phase is 95 percent complete.

Dr. Kihuga stated that the new cancer center will help address the backlog in treating patients, stating that they currently have 90 patients on treatment and another 120 on the waiting list, and they are in desperate need of radiotherapy machines and other facilities such as bankers.

The new Cancer Treatment Centre will boost capacity building in the country since all the other cancer treatment centers across the country depend on KNH for training of doctors and other personnel,” explained Dr. Kihuga.

KNH has also completed the construction of the surgical daycare center, which will handle minor surgeries such as fractures and allow patients to be treated and go home the same day, with Dr. Kihuga stating that the move will help to relieve congestion at the main hospital.

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