County sets up ambulance command centre for effective service delivery 

The County Government of Nakuru is setting up an ambulance dispatch and control system to enhance emergency medical services response in the region.

Minister for Health Dr Gichuki Kariuki says the facility at the Nakuru Level 5 Hospital will use geographic information processing to digitally map all health facilities and their capacity.

Nakuru County has a total of 558 health facilities, of which 26 are hospitals, 458 primary care facilities and 249 community units.

The County manages only 180 of the facilities, while the rest are faith-based, private and non-governmental organization.

A health sector taskforce commissioned by Governor Lee Kinyanjui in September 2017 revealed a lapse in the County’s emergency division.

Then, out of the 23 County-owned ambulances, only 8 were operational. The others were involved in road crashes or lacked general maintenance over the years.

The broken-down ambulances have since been repaired and 10 others bought and drivers trained on emergency vehicle operations.

Five of the new ambulances have advanced life support machines and will be stationed at Naivasha, Gilgil, Nakuru Level 5 Hospital, Molo and Ole Nguruone hospitals.

“Pre-hospital life support and transportation of the patient to the hospital is the most critical part of an emergency. We want to have it right,” said Dr Gichuki.

He said that during emergencies, especially road crashes on the northern corridor, hospitals are often caught unaware due to lack of proper coordination.

Under the new model, paramedic, ambulances and hospitals will be activated from the dispatch centre. Other players such as Kenya Red Cross and St Johns can also be called in.

The Minister said some health facilities were unable to maintain their ambulances as they do not charge fees for services offered.

The County Government of Nakuru has allocated 32 per cent of the total budget to health in the 2019/20 financial year.

The County Department of Health is in the process of renovating and upgrading health centres and dispensaries in the region to attend to basic emergency matters and offer first aids ahead of referrals.