30 ventilators purchased by the Ministry of Health that were allegedly distributed to counties are nowhere to be seen, the Senate has said.
The Senate was alarmed after governors said that they are yet to receive the crucial equipment in the fight against Covid-19.
A medical ventilator is an automatic machine that moves breathable air mechanically into and out of the lungs. The machine helps provide the mechanism of breathing for a patient, who is physically unable to breathe, or effectively breathe on their own.
Covid-19 being a respiratory illness, most patients rely on a ventilator to breathe.
The Senate ad-hoc committee on Coronavirus chaired by Nairobi Senate Johnson Sakaja has now summoned the Ministry of Health to explain the whereabouts of the additional ventilators that were bought at the onset of the Covid-19 outbreak in the country.
“The MoH has seven days to provide a report …on the whereabouts of the 30 ventilators it is said to have purchased and distributed to counties,” said Sakaja.
The Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe has until Tuesday next week, when the seven days will elapse, to table the report before the committee.
Lack of enough ventilators especially in Kenya has in the recent past raised fears over the country’s preparedness to fight the virus that has killed 24 people and infected 490 others.
The country has 297 ventilators out of which only 90 are available at public health centres. This threatens the country’s ability to care for and manage Covid-19 patients who may develop breathing complications.
“According to the Council of Governors, none of these additional ventilators had been distributed to counties by the time of writing of this report,” said Sakaja.
Last month, Kenya was among African countries that benefited from a ventilators donation by Chinese business magnate Jack Ma. The Ministry of Health said it had received the ventilators but didn’t reveal the number.