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Devolution brings change to Bondeni maternity hospital



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When the history of healthcare in Nakuru County will be written, it will not be about the strikes that have rocked the sector over the last six years of devolution.

Bondeni maternity, now a level four hospital, is an institution where many prominent people, among them doctors, lawyers, engineers and senior politicians were born.

However, those born there in the 1970s will now be surprised when they visit the institution that was associated with the poor as it is situated at the heart of the oldest slum in Nakuru, Bondeni.

Today, the hospital has changed into a modern health facility with state-of-art equipment.

The hospital dates back to 1952 and was built to take care of African women living in the South of the railway line.

It was exclusively a maternity hospital and did not admit first-time mothers as it could not handle any complications because it only had nurses as attendants.

For years, it was managed by the defunct Nakuru Municipal Council until 2014 when devolution set in.

In 2015, the hospital was upgraded to level four and was allocated its own budget.

The hospital is currently undergoing a major facelift at a cost of Sh15 million.

This is set to change the state of maternal health in the county.

The hospital’s medical superintendent, Dr Salome Gachathi, said the facelift will be completed in the next one-and-a-half years.

Among the major strides in the project is the establishment of new units which include a laboratory, a pharmacy, laundry, kitchen and a procurement department which were not there before.

“Initially the facility relied mainly on the Nakuru Level Five Hospital for most of the things including food for patients. We now cook good food for our patients,” she said.

She said the journey towards the transformation of the maternity hospital has been full of ups and downs as they changed from the old system.

Some of the transformations, she said included, changing the attitude of the staff, some of whom have served there for a long time.

The hospital will also has a new-born unit that will be handling more than 600 cases every month.

Currently, the hospital is recording between 170 and 200 deliveries in a month.

“One of the memorable moments is during the 100 days of doctors’ strike where we recorded 600 deliveries in one month,” she noted.

The hospitals’ board Chairman Boniface Mouti said it is set to attain a level that is above the ordinary hospitals.

“Initially, the hospital took care of the low class patients who could not afford better facilities but with the current status, even the middle and upper class patients will not shy away from it,” said Mr Mouti.

Ms Prisca Maina, the former medical superintendent who managed it when it was under the municipal council, said devolution has seen a total overhaul of the system.

She said unlike before when the hospital relied on the level five hospital for facilitation, the current independence has enabled the hospitals to start and run their own projects.

This month, the hospital has opened a nine-bed capacity ward for mothers in the active stage of labour.

The modern ward is equipped with mosquito nets, hot showers and a lounge for the nurses on duty.

The renovations are funded by the county government while the hospital equips the various units.