President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday commissioned an ultra-modern Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) regional hospital, underscoring the Government’s commitment to improving the welfare of the country’s security sector for better services to Kenyans.
The state-of-the-art Isiolo Regional Hospital, with a capacity of 105 beds, is a level 4 facility that will address the healthcare needs of service personnel, their dependents and veterans in the upper Eastern region which includes Isiolo, Marsabit, Mandera, Wajir, Meru, Nanyuki and Samburu counties.
Speaking during the launch at Isiolo Barracks in Meru County, President Kenyatta said the new hospital marks an important step in the healthcare reforms for the disciplined forces that are in tandem with the Government’s agenda on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) which has witnessed improvements in the services offered to the civilian population as well.
“The facility before us will provide Level 4 specialized services including surgical, internal medicine, obstetric/gynecological services, pediatric services and critical care to service members and their families within this region. This will reduce the time taken and resources used to travel all the way to Nairobi as was the case previously,” the President said.
President Kenyatta emphasized that the hospital is also part of the modernization of institutions of state and security organs that his administration has been implementing since 2013.
“Over that time, we have undertaken modernization of our institutions of state and security organs to an extent that is unparalleled in our nation’s history,” President Kenyatta said.
The Head of State said the KDF Isiolo Regional Hospital also adds to the Level 4 hospital already opened at Kahawa Garrison and the Trauma and Counselling Centre at Manda in Lamu County.
He pointed out that three other modern health facilities are in various stages of construction in Eldoret for the KDF, in Ruiru for the Prisons Service and at Mbagathi for the National Police Service.
“In addition to the facilities highlighted, the upgrade of the Forces Memorial Hospital to a Level 5 facility is on course, as is the ongoing construction of the Level 6 Hospital for the defence forces located off Waiyaki Way in Nairobi,” President Kenyatta said.
Besides healthcare, the President said the Government has also boosted the welfare and social support of the disciplined forces by securing the dignity of service members and their families through provision of decent and affordable housing.
In addition to ongoing initiatives to improve police housing, President Kenyatta recalled that last December he presided over the ground breaking ceremony for the construction of 3,500 new houses at Roysambu in Nairobi County for the KDF.
President Kenyatta once again commended the KDF for their courage, duty, service and sacrifices in defending the country, responding to natural disasters as well as contributing to international peace, security and stability.
He challenged political leaders to emulate the military in the delivery of development projects, citing the revamped Kenya Meat Commission and the work done in Nairobi by the Nairobi Metropolitan Service as examples of the KDF’s efficiency in service delivery.
President Kenyatta was accompanied by Cabinet Secretaries Eugene Wamalwa (Defence), Mutahi Kagwe (Health) and Peter Munya (Agriculture) as well as Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi.
CS Wamalwa said the Ministry of Defence has invested heavily in health facilities strategically across the country in line with the UHC pillar of the Big 4 Agenda.
“In this regard, the Isiolo Regional Hospital is the latest to join the list of military hospitals. This facility will contribute immensely healthcare access not only for the serving but also the retired military personnel and their families through the Defence Forces Insurance scheme and other members of security service through NHIF,” CS Wamalwa said.
Chief of Defence Forces General Robert Kibochi said the new hospital will serve a felt need in the KDF as it caters a region that was previously not well covered in terms of provision of healthcare service.
“Therefore we are very grateful that this hospital that you have just commissioned is going to benefit a lot of our officers and their families. And also as the policy that we recently adopted, those who have been enrolled with the Defence Forces Medical Insurance Scheme including the veterans will also be part of the patients who will be coming into this level 4 hospital,” General Kibochi said.
Former Chiefs of Defence Forces Generals (Rtd) Samson Mwathethe, Julius Karangi, Jeremiah Kianga and Joseph Kibwana joined other serving and retired senior military officers at the event that was also attended by senior Government officials.