Residents of Nairobi’s informal settlements are now getting healthcare services from the four newly launched hospitals.

These were part of the Sh2 billion 24 hospitals President Uhuru Kenyatta directed Nairobi Metropolitan Services director general Mohammed Badi to build to boost healthcare access in informal settlements.

This was, however, not a normal directive as Badi narrates the events that led to Uhuru’s decision.

Given that the NMS was established a few days after the first Covid-19 case was reported in Kenya, his first assignment was to go round and assess the situation faced by Nairobians at that moment.

“The first thing that made me feel ashamed was when I visited Mukuru, which has five areas: Kwa Njenga, Kwa Reuben, Fuata Nyayo, Pipeline and Viwandani,” Badi explained.

“If you count all Mukurus, the population is almost half a million, there was only one clinic that had seven beds capacity in, it run by a Catholic institution. And I felt ashamed as a government officer.”

The NMS boss said he was stunned to find that women in the slums were being given one hour to deliver and go home because there is not enough space and time in the clinic.

At this juncture, Badi went back to State House and reported what he had found.

“When I went back and reported to the President, he could not believe it. I told His Excellency, ‘put on a coat, hide so I sneak you into Mukuru to see for yourself,’” Badi narrated.

After a few days, both Badi and Uhuru drove to Mukuru in unrecognised vehicles and attires to the specific clinic that had a seven-bed capacity. According to Badi, nobody recognised them.

When we arrived  at the clinic, a pregnant woman also arrived. Nurses immediately turned her away, saying she had a complication and should instead go to Kenyatta National Hospital. Can you imagine that, and she was in labour pains?” Badi said.

“At that moment, the President revealed himself and said that kind of treatment could not continue. Do you know the car that escorted her to Kenyatta came from the President?”

What followed next was the President paying all the bills for women who had been treated at the clinic that day, including the one referred to Kenyatta National Hospital.

“That is where the President ordered me to build hospitals in all slums,” Badi said.

As result, the NMS boss identified 12 needy areas within the informal settlements and went back with the President on August 10, 2020, in Mukuru with a plan on how to construct, equip and staff hospitals.

However, Badi claimed that Uhuru was not satisfied with only 12 hospitals and told him to double the number.

“I’m glad to announce that within four months we have completed six health facilities and opened four hospitals fully equipped with modern machines, including theatre equipment and posted healthcare workers, inclusive of nurses,” he added.

The hospitals are Kayole-Soweto, Uhsirika, Kiamaiko and Uthiru-Muthua.

The NMS is in the process of finishing the other 18 hospitals and Mathare- Korogocho health facility in the next two months.

By The Star