The country has only 60 functional dialysis machines in public hospitals to cater for over one million people suffering from kidney ailments.
And Kenyatta National Hospital, which is the East Africaâ€™s largest referral hospital, has only 13 machines that are not adequate for thousands of kidney patients flocking the facility. Safaricom Foundation Chairman Joseph Ogutu said the country should ensure that more machines were purchased to save lives.
â€œThis is terrible and the foundation will do the little it can to help,â€ he said.
Mr Ogutu was speaking yesterday in Nakuru Provincial General Hospital where he handed over two dialysis machines worth Sh3.6 million donated to the medical facility by the foundation.
â€œI am told with these extra machines, the hospital can now dialyse around 16 people each day hence reduce inconvenience of patients travelling to KNH or Moi referral to be dialysed,â€ he said. Ogutu said the problem is worsened by the acute shortage of kidney specialists and nephrologists. He said currently one nephrologist caters for 100,000 people and urged the Government to train more kidney experts and renal nurses to cater for the increasing number of patients in the country.
â€œGovernment statistics indicate that an estimated one million people suffer the problem with six hundred thousand of these being youths while the cost of care and treatment for kidney patients in the country is high and out of reach for majority of them,â€ he said.
Ogutu used an example of the Rift Valley Provincial General Hospital, where he said each patient pays up to Sh11,700 to undergo the recommended three sessions of dialysis every week.
â€œUnfortunately this is the sum that not so many kidney patients can afford,â€ said Ogutu. He said the foundation was also in the process of donating four other machines to KNH and Central Province Hospital with each getting two.
Coast General Hospital will receive two machines later in the year.
However, Director of Medical Services in the Ministry of Public Services Francis Kimani said the Government is exploring ways to increase the number of machines across the country.-Standard