Kenya: 3 Covid-19 Patients Die After Oxygen Outage in Nakuru

At least three Covid-19 patients died at the Nakuru Level Five Hospital due to an inadequate supply of oxygen from the overwhelmed processing plant at the facility.

The three, who were on supplementary oxygen at what is the largest referral facility in the South Rift, died during an oxygen outage over the weekend.

The Nation has learnt that the deaths followed a malfunction at the oxygen processing plant.

In an Interview with the Nation, Nakuru County Health executive, Dr Gichuki Kariuki, confirmed the deaths, terming them 'unfortunate.'

"The oxygen processing plant developed a technical problem on Saturday, leading to inadequate production of oxygen. The mechanical problem lasted about four hours," said Dr Gichuki.

"The plant failed to produce the required 80 cylinders. It instead produced 40, leading to a deficit of about 40 cylinders. However, we were able to obtain oxygen cylinders from Nairobi and Eldoret, which saved the situation," said Dr Kariuki.

"More lives could have been lost were it not for the quick action of the county health officials."

Facility overwhelmed

The outage left health workers at the facility in panic as they struggled to save lives.

The oxygen processing plant at the Nakuru Level Five Hospital is overwhelmed by a rising demand in the county as the number of Covid-19 cases continues to rise.

The referral facility serves Nakuru and more than five other neighbouring counties including Baringo, Samburu, Kericho, Narok, Nyandarua and Bomet.

The Nakuru County government is under immense pressure to deal with the rising number of Covid-19 patients in the region.

Governor Lee Kinyanjui last week revealed that all beds in the county's Intensive Care Units (ICU) are occupied, forcing the transfer of patients to hospitals outside Nakuru.

However, it emerged on Tuesday that at least 74 of the patients in the county are on supplementary oxygen while four are in ICU.

A total of 7,429 Covid-19 cases, including 211 deaths, have been recorded in Nakuru since March 13, 2020, when the country recorded its first case. This inclu

The cases have been rising steadily, with the number of patients in need of critical care rising from about 14 to at least 80 in three weeks.

Situation alarming

Dr Kariuki has sounded the alarm following the rapid increase of new infections and deaths in the county.

Nakuru has lost two senior government officials to Covid-19 complications, which led to the scaling down of operations at the county offices for 30 days.

GovernorKinyanjui's Deputy Director of Political Affairs, Retired Senior Sergeant Wilfred Chebochok, succumbed to Covid-19 on March 16.

County Public health chief officer, Samuel King'ori, died from Covid-19 complications days later, while undergoing treatment at the Aga Khan Hospital's ICU.

At least 28,740 people have been vaccinated in Nakuru, among them 6,994 health care workers, 2,775 security officers,4,195 teachers and 14,803 members of the general public.

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