As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to surge in the county and hospitals beginning to get overwhelmed, rich Kenyans have sought private ICU beds in their homes as the country waits for the worst.
Five governors and prominent businessmen cum politician from the North Rift who have installed the state-of-the-art ICU facilities at their private facilities. The alleged governors include two from the coastal region, the other two from Nyanza while the last one is from Eastern Kenya.
One of the alleged governors is said to be having a pre-existing medical condition while other two govern counties which were seriously hit by coronavirus pandemic between April and May, something that explains why the county chiefs rushed for the medical facilities.
People Daily established that an employee at a private hospital was contracted by the five governors and the businessmen to source and install the ICU facilities that included medical gas systems, oxygen cylinder, dry air, ventilators, and patient monitors, with each costing upwards of Sh10 million.
The prominent Kenyans have also sought medical help from private doctors and nurses who are on standby in any case one of them or their kin contract the virus.
“A good number of high profile people have been in a rush to install ICU beds in their homes, complete with all required equipment. Some of them we have supplied (the ICU equipment) to and oversaw the installation of the facilities at their home including five governors who have also made arrangements for standby private doctors and nurses which is a prerequisite,” People daily quoted a source who sought anonymity because he was not authorized to disclose the company’s business dealings.
When the newspaper contracted Siaya Governor Cornel Rasanga to comment about the allegations, he denied knowledge of such arrangements made by some of his colleagues but refused to rule out such possibilities.
Rasanga told the local newspaper that there could be a possibility that those who could install them as a precautionary measure including in his county which has an oxygen manufacturing plant.”People putting up private ICU could be a possibility due to the overstretching in the hospitals but as a county (Siaya) we are working on 66 ICU beds which will be complete in two weeks. And it is not a must that one puts up an ICU facility, one can put up a related system because what is most important is oxygen,” said Rasanga.
While Samburu Governor Moses Lenolkulal said he was not aware of any Governor who has installed ICU facilities in their homes.
At the moment, most governors are racing against time to ensure they have all the medical facilities as they prepare to tackle coronavirus. As of Wednesday, only 26 counties have attained the 300-bed capacity in their isolation centers.
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Dr. Simon Gikondu, the Secretary-General of the Kenya Medical Association on Thursday said he was unaware of the revelations but could not rule out such possibility given the current crisis in the health sector occasioned by the increasing number of Covid-19.
“This could be as a result of the failure of the same people who are making private health arrangement for themselves and their families, to ensure we have ICU facilities in public hospitals, lack of capacity in human resources which we have been fighting for. Now that the private facilities they rely on are full of to capacity and there are limitations in foreign travel, they are thinking about themselves,” Dr. Gikondu said.
The news comes at a time when the country is staring at a crisis in the treatment of patients with serious Covid-19 conditions due to the shortage of ICU beds in both private and public hospitals. Although the Ministry of Health has been quiet about it, sources say that all hospitals in Nairobi have vacant no hospital beds.
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