Embu Level Five hospital made history on Friday when it became the first public institution in Mt Kenya and upper Eastern region to conduct a successful brain surgery.
The hospital has embarked on a transformation into a referral and teaching institution.
The delicate operation to remove a blood clot in the brain was carried out by a team of five doctors and five nurses and was witnessed by Governor Martin Wambora.
Hospital chief executive Dr Moses Njue said the patient, a man in his 20s, was out of danger and was recuperating in the Intensive Care Unit.
He said the man had been assaulted with a hoe a week ago, cracking his skull and developing a blood clot.
Mr Wambora said the groundbreaking operation was a major boost to the county’s desire to become the third referral and teaching institution in the country.
The hospital is cooperating with Moi University and Kenyatta National Hospital, and will perform the first kidney transplant in March.
The hospital will also be used as the training base for students at the soon-to-be established School of Medicine at the University of Embu.
The institution has installed a state-of-the-art six-bed Intensive Care Unit (ICU), six-bed High Dependency Unit (HDU), a cancer screening unit, a maternity theatre and increased the labour ward capacity.
The hospital can now accommodate 700 in-patients.
Mr Wambora said his government had already set aside Sh40 million for the hiring 326 specialised doctors and nurses to ease the pain of patients having to travel to Nairobi and outside the country to seek medical care.
“Today, I have been persuaded that we are ready to do the first kidney transplant in the month of March. Patients do not need to travel all the way to India and elsewhere to seek treatment. We have the biggest ICU between Thika and Moyale.
“We are joining President Uhuru Kenyatta in making health one of the four pillars of development,” he said.
The county government allocated one third of its Sh2 billion budgetary allocation to health and has already set up a Sh250 million complex aimed at boosting medical tourism.
Dr Njue, who is a former Chief Government Pathologist, said that when the hospital is fully operationalised, it will earn the county at least Sh100 million per year.
Currently, the hospital serves at least 1,200 outpatients per day and is attracting patients from as far as Meru, Tharaka Nithi, Kitui and Kirinyaga counties.
He said they would purchase an air ambulance to cover the entire region and airlift patients from the Northern frontier.
Dr Njue said they were also increasing the number of medics and various specialists to successfully carry out kidney transplants, cancer and complicated orthopedic treatments.
The hospital complex will also host five classrooms to train medics and a molecular laboratory for genetics cross matching that will aid in setting up a renal unit.
The county government has already bought 10 dialysis machines.