The top three causes of death in Nairobi County are respiratory, diarrheal and skin diseases, a new a report by the Health Taskforce Committee has revealed.
Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja appointed the committee in September to look into ways of improving health service delivery in Nairobi.
The team identified other killer diseases as pneumonia, malaria, urinary tract infections, ear infection, typhoid fever, dental disorders and accidents.
The committee led by Dr Githinji Gitahi established that the unemployment rate and job security are some of the reasons some city dwellers contract these diseases, leading to their deaths.
The team linked the high cases of communicable diseases to unhealthy living conditions.
Dr Gitahi noted that the deaths are associated with environmental health risk factors such as air pollution, congested and poorly ventilated dwellings, poor drinking water quality, sanitation and hygiene.
“Due to poor water, sanitation and hygiene, more than half the population is at risk of contracting diseases and death, with over 75 per cent of the country’s disease burden caused by poor personal hygiene, inadequate sanitation practices and unsafe drinking water,” the report read in part.
The report also established that the available health facilities in Nairobi are understaffed staffed and understocked stocked with drugs and crucial medical equipment like Intensive Care Units.
There are 119 public health facilities in Nairobi: 59 level 2, 45 level 3, 12 level 4, and 3 level 5.
Public health facilities account for 15 per cent (119) of the total health facilities in Nairobi (803).
The committee found the public health facilities in the county are overstretched, with over 150 percent admission rate, forcing patients to share beds.
“The facilities also experience a frequent breakdown of medical equipment such as laboratory equipment and X-Ray machines due to lack of clear schedule of preventive maintenance, leading to long downtimes and disruption of services delivery.
“Poor maintenance and non-repair of health facilities attributed to poor planning, inadequate budget allocation for maintenance and lack of preventative maintenance schedule and culture leading to frequent breakdowns of equipment and dilapidated buildings,” the report added.
Further, the taskforce established that various development projects initiated by the previous administrations have since stalled.
“Such projects are derailing service provision since they were earmarked to expand and improve the service delivery. The new hospitals have not been fully staffed, equipped and stocked with the necessary health products and technologies to ensure delivery of quality healthcare services to the public,” Dr Gitahi noted.
He recommended the completion and equipping of public facilities to ensure they operate 24/7 and procure and install biometric equipment for all 119 health facilities.
The task force further recommended that eight ICU/HDU beds should be set up at Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital, eight at Pumwani, eight at Mbagathi and 12 at Mama Margaret Kenyatta Hospital in Korogocho.
The team also wants Sakaja’s administration to set up four blood banks and review the blood donation policy while establishing a fully-fledged blood satellite at Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital.
The report also says the county should set up a sustainable and effective referral and linkage system for emergency and non-emergency services.
The team said there is a need to strengthen mental health services and establish a centre of excellence in mental health.
Governor Sakaja said he would appoint a technical advisory committee to help him implement the recommendations of the report.
“I want to commit that the report will not be put on the shelves of our offices, but I will see to it that all the recommendations made by the task force are implemented for the benefit of Nairobians,” he assured.