Kenya: Sh200 Million Lamu Hospital Projects in Limbo as Delays Persist

Lamu County is still struggling without a single Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in its hospitals though it received Sh200 million from the national government for such facilities five years ago.

Lamu is among 14 marginalised counties that benefited from the funds based on the Marginalization Policy.

Of the Sh200 million, Sh100 million was used on setting up an ICU unit, an accident and emergency unit, a modern theatre and a renal unit at King Fahad County Referral Hospital in Lamu town.

Other two sub-county hospitals - Mpeketoni in Lamu West and Faza in Lamu East - received Sh50 million each that was supposed to improve infrastructure and enable two facilities to attain Level Four status.

The cash was to go into putting up a modern maternity and children's wing at Mpeketoni hospital and an outpatient ward and improving general infrastructure at Faza hospital.

All the construction was expected to be completed in 12 months.

Five years down the line, there is no single functional ICU in the county.

At Mpeketoni Sub-County Hospital, work on the maternity and children's wing stalled for several months after the previous contractor allegedly embezzled the money.

Speaking to Nation.Africa on Sunday, Lamu County Health executive Anne Gathoni said the work had to be contracted afresh.

"Work is currently ongoing for the Mpeketoni maternity unit. We had challenges with the previous contractor that forced us to have the works contracted afresh. We expect the project to be completed in the next few months," she said.

At Faza hospital, the construction of the outpatient ward is still going on and is 95 percent completed.

At King Fahad hospital, the outpatient department block, which houses the accident and emergency section and the renal units, is complete and functional.

The renal unit was equipped under the Managed Equipment Services (MES) programme by the national government.

Ms Gathoni confirmed that construction of the ICU is yet to be completed and equipped.

The county government had budgeted for the equipping of the ICU in the current financial year, she said.

"It's only the renal unit that is functional after the national government equipped it through the MES programme. For the ICU, there's some refurbishment work going on to make it a standard ICU by ensuring it is fully equipped with oxygen piping and oxygen plant," she said.

Lamu residents who talked to Nation.Africa questioned why the hospital infrastructure upgrades have taken forever to be completed though money was released by the national government several years ago.

Mohamed Athman, the chairperson of Save Lamu, also wondered why the county government has not completed the ICU facility to help save lives especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.

"We are aware that part of the Sh200 million released by the national government five years ago was to be used in setting up an ICU in Lamu. We are wondering why that hasn't been done. During this period of the Covid-19 pandemic, having an ICU in a county is crucial," he said.

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