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The Cost Of Setting Up A Single ICU Unit In Kenya

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Unlike a standard Intensive Care Unit (ICU) room which costs between Sh7 million and Sh8 million to set up, ICU’s for patients with the novel contagious Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) require to be isolated in rooms that contain negative pressure to prevent cross-contamination.

The rooms include a ventilator that generates pressure that is lower than normal to allow air to flow into the isolation room.

According to Dr. Noah Akala, MD who is the Founder and CEO at MedLux International Hospital, the Government would have to set aside between Sh15 million to Sh20 million to set up an ICU unit fully suited to deal with the worst COVID-19 case that the country can record.

Detailing everything on this Social media account, here is how ICU machinery costs:

  • Patient monitor – India versions can cost as little as Sh80,000. European model as much as Sh600,000
  • Ventilator – Chinese models Sh1.7 million. European as much as Sh5 million.
  • Defibrillator – can be shared between 3 – 5 beds. for Sh250,000
  • Ripple mattress – Sh10,000
  • Medical gas system – this depends on whether you put an oxygen plant or you just use those BOC cylinders. It also needs a vacuum system so the cost can really vary.
  • ICU nurses, in the private sector, salaries exceed Sh100,000 per month Nurse: Patient at all times is 1:1.
  • Anaesthesiologist who get paid between Sh400,000 to Sh600,000
  • For COVID-19, patients need to be isolated in a room with a feature called negative pressure to prevent the risk of transmission. This doesn’t come standard. Hermetically sealed doors for such a unit alone can cost Sh1.5 million. These doors prevent air from moving in/out
  • A proper lab to run daily tests; Kidney function, liver function, arterial blood gases are daily. Full haemogram/Chest x-ray every other day. Mobile x-ray units cost about Sh11 million
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The doctor further advises on a properly stocked pharmacy that would allow patients to get the necessary supportive medication as and when required. “Antibiotics are key to treat pneumonia’s that superimpose on the viral infection.” He writes.

Of the 518 ICU beds in the country, 450 are currently occupied.

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