July 2020 BusinessDaily ; The Nairobi Hospital has entered into a partnership with the United Nations to set up a Sh1.1 billion coronavirus treatment facility that will offer preference to the global organisation’s workers and family members in Africa.
The centre, which will have an operating theatre, laboratory, radiology and physiology services and 150 beds, including 25 intensive-care and 50 high-dependency units, will be ready in eight weeks.
It comes amid a surge in infections, which hit 13, 771 and killed 234, and there are fears that easing of lockdowns from July 6 could lead to a further spike in Covid-19 cases.
Besides helping finance the facility, the UN will provide “specialised equipment that is in short supply globally and may not be easily available in Kenya,” said UN Nairobi office Director-General Zainab Hawa Bangura.
Nairobi Hospital chief executive Allan Pamba said the turnkey solution — a system built end-to-end for a customer — will boost the hospital’s capacity to handle more Covid-19 patients.
‘‘The UN recognised the need to contribute to the national pool of Covid-19 care beds and facilities, both to bolster the capacity of the Kenyan healthcare system and ensure a reliable referral facility for its staff and families in Kenya and the region,’’ he said during the ground-breaking ceremony.
Dr Pamba said the facility is better placed to cater for the United Nations and diplomatic personnel as well as their families.
The Sh1 billion unit will admit both UN and non-UN patients, Dr Pamba added.
The UN has its Africa headquarters in Nairobi, with more than 3,000 workers. It has other offices in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, and several peacekeeping missions with more than 70,000 personnel as of March.
Some hospitals in Nairobi are reported to be getting swamped.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has called a national meeting this week to review preparedness after the nation recorded more than 1,200 new infections over the weekend.
Nairobi Hospital said it will construct the facility dedicated to Covid-19 treatment at the Nairobi Hospital old nursing school and will complement the isolation facility currently managed by the facility at the neighbouring Silver Springs Hotel.
“This partnership has in effect created two hospitals in one. The main hospital on one side of Argwings Kodhek road and on the other side of the road, the Covid-19 management facility made up of the Silver Springs Isolation facility and the 150 bed Covid-19 treatment facility for symptomatic patients’’ said Dr Pamba.