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Uhuru unveils kidney, liver transplant centre

Thursday, May 12th, 2022 11:25 | By
President Uhuru Kenyatta interacts with a patient at a Kenyatta National Hospital ward, yesterday. PHOTO/John Ochieng

Kidney patients seeking transplants will no longer have to travel to South Africa or India to conduct compatibility tests after President Uhuru Kenyatta launched the Centre for Kidney Diseases and Organ Transplantation (CKDOT).

Done at a cost of Sh160 million, the centre which is located at Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) is fitted with a laboratory that enables compatibility tests for kidney transplants to be conducted locally.

“The laboratory for tissue matching for kidney donors and the recipients was not available in the country, and we used to send the samples to India or South Africa and it would take between one to two weeks to get the results. In our new renal centre, we are getting results in 24 hours which makes treatment easier and cheaper,” said President Kenyatta.

 Uhuru described the project as a game-changer arguing that the low number of transplant operations in the country have been due to the unavailability of tissue matching services locally.

 Apart from treating kidney ailments in Kenya and the region, President Kenyatta said the centre will train  urologists, nephrologists, specialist nurses and bridge the existing training gaps on non-communicable diseases as well as transfer skills to other lower level hospitals in the counties.

On average, about 260 patients require kidney transplants each year.

At the same time, the President launched the Zarina Merali Centre, that will offer minor surgical services for walk-in patients, who do not require overnight management. The centre will house four main theatres and two minor operating theatres.

The day-care centre has state-of-the-art theatres, well equipped to conduct minor surgeries with well-trained and dedicated personnel. It is equipped to offer a wide range of surgeries such as cosmetic, dental, gynecology, endoscopic to name just a few.

Fire incidents

 Speaking during the event,  Zarina whose family contributed Sh100 million for the construction of the day-care centre said the idea to establish the facility, was informed by the various tragic fire incidents, which leave many people with no where to get treatment.

Zarina is the late philanthropist D Naushad Merali’s widow.  In particular, she recalled the fire incidents that happened in January 2019. The country witnessed twin disasters at that time.

A fuel tanker exploded at Sachangwan in Salgaa area along Nakuru Eldoret Highway which claimed lives of over 130 people and several others were critically injured.

In the same month, at the Nairobi Central Business District, a fire broke out at Nakumatt Downtown Supermarket that left at least 30 people dead and several others critically injured.

“ Watching these events was the saddest for me. We visited the wards at KNH with my husband; who at the time was appointed as the chairman of Nakumatt-Molo Fire Victims Board and what we saw was just painful,” she said.

 She added: “In as much as our medics at KNH were attending to the victims in a very professional way, there were not enough beds for them and the majority were sharing the beds. But I am glad today that we are launching this facility that will serve as a big reprieve.”

 Speaking during the function, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe urged more philanthropists to work closely with the government, to help in the realisation of Universal Healthcare Coverage.

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