Water shortage hinders running of Lamu Renal unit

A section of the unit. PHOTO: COURTESY.

Lamu, KENYA: The delay in the operationalization of the more than Sh.50 million renal unit at the Lamu County King Fahad County hospital is due to lack of water to run the facility.

Speaking at the facility on Thursday, Lamu County Director for Health Services David Mulewa and County Health Executive Raphael Munyua said a renal unit requires an adequate and consistent supply of water to be effectively run and that Lamu does not have enough fresh water to run the unit.

Water in Lamu county is saline to a certain extent while the unit requires to be run on purely fresh water.

The construction of the renal unit was completed more than two months ago but couldn’t start functions due to lack of water.

Mulewa however said the county government had installed a mini desalination plant that will function to convert saline water into quality water for use at the facility.

He expressed confidence that the renal unit will commence operations before the end of next March this year.

Mulewa said Lamu has a high number of renal patients but that they have been forced to refer them to other counties like Mombasa and Nairobi due to the water issue.

He said the unit has all the required equipment and facilities to run but that another challenge was the lack of trained specialists to run the renal unit.

He however said the hospital had sent a selected number of health officers from the county to the Kenyatta National Hospital where they have received basic training on how to operate the various machines in the renal unit.

“We already have three dialysis machines ready to start work.We have a number of machines undergoing checks but generally, we are good to go.The biggest hindrance at the moment is the lack of fresh water.Every drop of water here has a level of salinity yet renal units require fresh water to run.We have however in the meantime installed a mini desalination plant that will help convert saline water into fresh water for use here.The unit will start working by next month,”said Mulewa.

County CEC for Health Raphael Munyua said the renal unit will a step ahead in matters of health in the county and a big relief for patients with renal issues.

“For over 50 years,renal patients have been referred from here to Mombasa and Nairobi but we are now glad that our very unit will begin functioning in less than two months.That means people won’t have to strain and travel for attention.We will do it right here,” said Munyua.