A section of Baringo residents have accused the County Government for failing to repair a faulty CT-Scan machine at the County Referral Hospital, Kabarnet, forcing patients to seek emergency services from other hospitals outside the County.
Led by Baringo Referral Hospital Management Board Chair, Dr Kipkurui Cheptinga, the residents said that the critical equipment procured in 2015 has been breaking down frequently forcing patients to be referred to other hospitals in the region, including Moi Teaching and Referal Hospital (MTRH) in Eldoret, Iten and Nakuru for specialized treatment.
Dr Cheptinga claimed that the machine’s computer at the Level Live Referral Hospital crashed in 2019 and was replaced with another one which stopped working from November last year.
“Residents have been accusing us of poor service delivery but had such issues been monitored by those doing inspection after repairs we could have not reached this stage,” he said.
The pediatric nephrologist added that a laundry machine was brought six months ago to the facility at a cost of Sh 5.6 million and yet it was rusting away outside the facility because it has not been installed despite the supplier having been paid.
He claimed that their plea to the County Administration to install the essential equipment and commission it for use has fallen on deaf ears.
County Executive Committee (CEC) for Health Services, Dr Richard Rotich, responding to the claims made by the Hospital Management Board Chair acknowledged the CT scan machine has broken down and they are unable to do periodic maintenance due to lack of funds.
Dr Rotich said contrary to the assertions by some residents that the machine was a second hand, the CT scan was procured through competitive bidding awarded to Ms Reale Medical Centre, at a price of Sh 36 million.
The CEC explained that the engineer who installed the machine informed the management that the equipment was a brand new 16 slicer model manufactured by Philips International.
Dr Rotich in a signed statement said the manufacturer and the supplier advised that up to Sh 12 million per annum would be required for periodic maintenance by the manufacturer and a bit on the lower side by the supplier, servicing which they did in 2019 but due to budgetary constraints they have accumulated a pending bill of Sh 300,000 from the last repair works.
“We are still negotiating with the engineer to repair the machine even as we wait to clear him once money from the National Treasury is available,” he said.
The Health CEC who referred Dr Cheptinga as immediate former Hospital Management Board Chair stated that the bulk washing machine could not be installed due to lack of space at the referral hospital adding that an ideal room required electrical, masonry and plumbing works costing Sh 290,000.
“The supplier is ready to install, test and commission the machine as soon as funding for required renovations are available,” Dr Rotich clarified.
Barwessa Ward Member of County Assembly (MCA), Richard Barwecho, who is also the County Assembly health committee chair revealed that the CT scan machine has no service contract agreement between the manufacturer and the hospital, a situation which has complicated repair works.
Barwecho said that the county government ought to swallow a bitter pill and buy a new machine if it has the interest of local residents at heart.
Baringo Human Rights Consortium chairman Bishop William Kitilit attributed the bad situation at the county referral hospital to negligence and called for urgent investigations so that those found culpable are prosecuted.
He said that the facility is in a very deplorable state and many lives are lost due to ineffectiveness of such critical equipment at the hospital.