Dispensaries commissioned by Waiguru a great relief to residents seeking primary healthcare services
Two of the recently commissioned dispensaries in Kirinyaga County have brought great relief to residents who now enjoy healthcare services at their doorstep. The two facilities, Umoja and Kiambui in Mwea and Gichugu constituencies respectively are the latest among the dispensaries that Governor Anne Waiguru has been completing and commissioning. So far, the governor has commissioned five out of 20 dispensaries that her administration has lined up for completion and equipping with an aim of enhancing provision of primary healthcare.
A crosscheck at the dispensaries reveal the long awaited relief they have brought to villagers who from time immemorial have had to travel for many kilometers in search of healthcare services. At Umoja Dispensary in Mwea, about 70 patients are served daily, without having to spend money or time making trips to facilities almost 10 kilometers away. It is serving about 4,500 locals from Ngang’a, Umoja, Mbingo-ini and Kiandegwa villages. The beneficiaries previously travelled more than five kilometers to get to the nearest public health facilities such as Rurii-Kiandegwa dispensary or Mutithi and Ciagini Health Centers.
One of the beneficiaries of the project, Rhodah Mukami from Kiandegwa village that neighbors the dispensary, says that the facility has been of great help to her as well as her neighbors. She said that they would earlier seek services in as far as Embu County where they spent money on transport. “We used to pay up to Ksh. 200 as fare to hospitals but now we just walk in whenever we require medical services. We are very grateful to Governor Waiguru for ensuring that this dispensary is completed and well equipped.” Said Rhoda, praising the services they receive from the health workers attached to the facility.
While commissioning the dispensary last year, governor Waiguru said that her administration will be allocating more funds to expand services at the dispensary, a maternity wing, a female and a male ward being among the proposed expansion projects. “We want to elevate this facility to a Level Three hospital so that people from the area don’t necessarily have to go Kimbimbi Hospital for admission”, she said.
Jane Njeri Karanja, the Facility-In-Charge at Umoja Dispensary said that they are able to serve around 70 patients per day within the various outpatient services such as consultation, TB clinic, non-communicable diseases management, antenatal and postnatal care clinics and cervical cancer screening for women among others. She added that an immunization center for children is about to be established at the dispensary in order to enhance mother and childcare services.
At Kiambui dispensary that is located in Njuki-ini ward in Gichugu constituency, residents can now receive a variety of outpatient services and minor surgeries and wound dressing. The facility that is a few kilometers from Kutus-Embu highway has been of help to road accident victims who are rushed there for emergency treatment with those requiring further management being duly referred to higher level facilities. The dispensary that serves no less than 50 patients in a day covers a catchment area with a population of around 4,000 residents who previously had to travel more than 8km away to the nearest Difathas health center while others crossed to the neighboring county of Embu.
The Facility-In-Charge, Haniel Njue, says that the dispensary has been a Godsend to the residents especially those from the nearby densely populated Mwambao informal settlement. Other vilages served by Kiambui Dispensary are Gathoge, Piai and Kanjuu, Mbiri. He said that apart from offering consultation and treatment, they have been carrying out intensive public health education especially on hygiene and sanitation. “Since the dispensary was opened we have been sensitizing members of the community on the importance of upholding cleanliness as a way of preventing diseases. As such incidences of water borne diseases such as diarrhea which were prevalent in this area have significantly reduced.” Said the officer.
At the dispensary, more than 10 pregnant women who would previously travel kilometers to Kianyaga Hospital or cross over to Embu County for their clinics can now conveniently access such care. The presence of antenatal care services goes a long way in prevention of maternal and neonatal deaths since complications in pregnancies are detected in good time allowing for timely intervention. Plans to start a child immunization center at the facility are also underway, an initiative that mothers in the area look forward to.
Pauline Njoki Gachoki said that Kiaumbui Dispensary is of greate benefit to people suffering from diabetes and hypertension. They are able to access advice, medication and review at the facility thereby saving them the hustle of travelling long distances or seeking such services from private providers. She told of how they could earlier on travel up to 10 km to the nearest health facility such as Difathas and Murinduko within the county or facilities across the county. Without money for transport, some people just bought medication over the counter or even resulted to use of herbs.
Due to its close proximity to Kiaumbui primary and secondary schools, pupils do not have to waste days in search of medical services. They just have to walk over to the dispensary that is next door and get treatment and if not very sick they can still go back to class. This also saves their parents time and money that they would previously spend taking them to facilities away from their locality.
Other dispensary projects that Waiguru has commissioned in the last one year include, Kiamwathi, Kianjiru and Joshua Mbai. She has pointed out that with good primary healthcare at the dispensaries, there will be less congestion at higher level health facilities thus giving them space to effectively deal with more complex health matters. She added that towards the achievement of universal health coverage, her administration has invested heavily in infrastructural development of various health facilities across the county.