Patients seeking specialised kidney disease treatment at Nyeri County Referral Hospital have been dealt a blow by the departure of the Cuban doctor posted there.
Nephrologist Eisy Cabrera returned to her country as she was found to have a brain tumor. County health chief officer Newton Wambugu confirmed her departure on Wednesday.
“She left after a one-month observation period and treatment in Nairobi,” he said.
“She made proposals towards service improvement at the hospital. We endeavour to implement them in our strategic plans.”
The county, Mr Wambugu said, will have received her replacement by the end of this year. Dialysis is currently being conducted by a physician who took over when Ms Cabrera left
The renal unit at the hospital handles between 12 and 15 patients daily. The first two processes cost Sh9,500 a week while the third costs Sh3,000.
Central region has only one nephrologist employed by the government. The doctor is based in Thika, Kiambu County.
Statistics indicate that last year, Nyeri had 29 nephrologists and 260 nephrology nurses, who handled kidney complications and dialysis.
The lack of a nephrologist at the hospital will likely result in delays in treatment, considering the number of people with kidney diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity have been rising.
Nyeri county leads in the prevalence of non-communicable disease, with diabetes affecting 6.4 percent of the population.
According to the World Diabetes Foundation, the prevalence rate of the disease is about 3.3 percent in Kenya.
It is estimated that hypertension afflicts eight percent of the population.
Hypertension and diabetes are among the top ailments that cause permanent damage to the kidneys, accounting for about two thirds of damage.
Contributors include obesity, smoking and high cholesterol levels, which has been highlighted as the major reasons why Nyeri leads in lifestyle diseases.