Nairobi News

General

Quality healthcare shouldn’t be for the rich only

Today we bring you the inspiring story of a teenager living with a rare condition that has left him bedridden at Kenyatta National Hospital for the better part of his young life.

It is the inspiring, yet also heart-rending story of Stephen Mwangi, a form two student at Kahithe Secondary School in Murang’a.

Because of his condition known scientifically as osteogenesis imperfecta, young Mwangi is unable to join his colleagues at school for the first term.

He suffers from brittle bones that break all too easily. Mwangi has bravely undergone more than ten operations in his short life, the latest one only last month when he broke both hips in a freak accident.

As a result, he now requires imported custom made implants because he already has metal plates implanted in both thigh bones.

The cost of restoring just one of his hips Sh400,000-Sh500,000 and this is not the end of the youngster’s agony as he will have to spend long periods in hospital because it will take some time to make them specially for his use.

Besides the cost of the implants, medication and doctors’ fees, his delicate condition requires a special bed at the KNH Orthopedic wing which costs between Sh5,000 and Sh7,000 a day.

And the sad fact is that Mwangi is not alone. His story typifies the sad state of healthcare across the country.

The Government has pledged to pump up to Sh42 billion into 92 hospitals across the country in order to improve facilities and services.

According to health Cabinet Secretary James Macharia, even the hospitals that have been handed over to counties are in serious need of funds to buy equipment and for renovating because they are in deplorable conditions, making them incapable of rendering services to the ordinary Kenyan.

And it is not just young Mwangi suffering as a result of our hospital’s inability to deliver services.

Today, thousands of patients with very treatable illnesses are suffering either because our services do not have the capacity to attend to them or due to lack of funds to meet the costs of treatment.

Quite simply this is not good enough in a country celebrating 50 years of Independence. And it is a situation that must be remedied as an absolute priority.