Kijabe Road: A nightmare ride for patients to the mission hospital

Welcome to Kijabe:The bad road that take you to Kijabe Town Photo/Joseph Kariuki

Tucked on the rolling hills of the Great Rift Valley along the Nairobi-Nakuru highway lies Kijabe Mission Hospital. The hospital, established by missionaries in 1915, is synonymous with bone surgery. As you snake down the breathtaking scenery of lush vegetation and tall trees, the ride is peaceful if your eyes are only focused on the beautiful scenery and the quality of medical care that awaits you at the AIC church-run hospital.

The scenic beauty on your way to Kijabe mission hospital Photo/Joseph Kariuki

The hospital is home to advanced medical care with volunteer expatriate doctors dotting the compound. Among the critical services the hospital offers is orthopedic surgery (bone fixing), paediatric surgery (for children) among other services which attracts patients from as far as Mogadishu in Somalia.

Being a mission hospital, the cost of medicare is cheap and hence attracting thousands of patients from all over the country. But despite this hospital being a referral unit that has greatly helped decongest Kenyantta National Hospital, the road to this facility is a nightmare to patients. The smooth ride from Nairobi comes to an abrupt end when you turn off at the Kijabe junction. There you meet ‘junky’ cars in the name of taxis waiting to ferry passengers from the junction to the hospital. The newest of the dozen or so cars is a KAD. I later came to learn why matatus have refused to take passengers downhill to the hospital.

The ride through the 5km road is a nightmare even for the healthy but for people with spinal complications and mothers who have delivered their babies through caesarean section it is death threat. On my way to the hospital, I tried to count the number of potholes along the short stretch that should take one at most 10 minutes but I stopped at 200.

Some of the potholes are like craters filled with stones as a temporary solution. Even the mighty four-wheelers have to slow to a snail’s pace to beat the jumpy road. It is here at one of the corners – the road has many – that we meet Dr Ruth Mayforth, a paediatric surgeon dodging mighty holes on the four-metre wide road.

A huge hole on Kijabe road thats has been a headache to many patients Photo/Joseph Kariuki

She slows down when she sees me taking pictures and without much prompting she narrates the ordeals of the road and effects to her patients. “I feel for the patients who have had emergency abdominal operations,” she says. On a later phone interview with her, she raises fear about spinal injury patients who flood the hospital. “Patients with spinal injury needs to be very still but it is impossible with a road like this,” says Dr Mayforth.

She is not the only doctor with such concerns. A gynaecologist in the hospital told the Star that many women rushing to the maternity ward have ended up suffering under the menacing potholes. But the worse is when a mother has given birth through caesarean section. The chances of rupturing the wound increase through the bumpy ride.

One such patient is Lucy who gave birth through a C-section. She described her journey from Kijabe hospital to the main road as terrifying. “By the time I reached the main road I felt faint, and the wound started paining. I could not do anything for a week and the bleeding which had stopped before I was discharged started again.”

Lucy is among the lucky ones. Others have developed complications that have necessitated further surgery. The story is no different in the orthopedic wards. A surgeon in the department told us some patients who have had their broken limbs fixed end up back at the hospital after the rough ride which weakens the bolts and screws used to fix the limbs.

Another surgeon, Dr Joseph Theuri, who has worked in the bone department for 10 years, says most patients suffer pain and bone tiring after a ride on that 5km stretch of road. “It is a painful process for someone with an injury. Even the cost of transport increases because a journey that used to take 15 minutes now takes 30 minutes,” says Dr Theuri.

Painful ride:Potholed filled road that is a nightmare to patients Photo/Joseph Kariuki

Residents are now blaming their MP for laxity in lobbying government to repair a road that has never seen any major repairs since 1984. But the Lari MP David Njuguna told the Star that the hospital is to blame for the state of the road which falls under the jurisdiction of the government. “Have you called the hospital CEO? Call her and she will explain why the road is not repaired,” said the MP after the Star called him for comment. A taxi operator, James Maina, we found with a broken down car lamented: “Our area MP has decided to neglect us.” Maina told us that in a month he uses up to Sh10,000 for repairs.

Final destination: A view of Kijabe Nission Hospital Photo/Joseph Kariuki

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Posted on January 9, 2012, in Features and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. True. The road is not only full of potholes but also very narrow.

  2. i was reffered to have a sugery of nasal polyps when is the ent doctor available and approximate cost of the surgery so that i can come soonest possible pliz i need a reply soonest possible.robert God bless your fratanity very much.

  3. Regarding Kijabe Rd May God bless the good people who have tirelessly filled the craters every year after the rains wash them clean.
    Its a pity how the authorities”concerned”with roads can neglect such a an important RD that serves a community, a big Hospital, Schools,Churches, and connects two major roads in Kenya.
    The con, concerned persons should put talk to action to spare the poor patients and the community the agony they have put up with this road.

    GOVERNOR Kabogo visited promised Kijabe residents HOT AIR during the campaigns , the MP did the same where are we headed with our leaders???

  4. has the Kijabe Road been repaired?

    • My good Lord !!! The road is a total night mare for any normal human being.

      I fear and dread for the patients who have to use this road by all means to go to hospital or leave.

      The relevant authorities need to address the state of this road which has been repaired severally but just for light rains to clean open the pot holes.

      This is not only a road that serves the great community of Kijabe and its environs but this very key road serves a very major hospital that receives patients as far as Moyale in north eastern. It serves more than 3 major schools I.e. Kijabe Boys, Kijabe Girls and Rift Valley Academy etc. > Am more than willing to assist where I can to bring this night mare to a stop. Best Wishes,

      Alex Kimama

      Braced Contractors Ltd Forest Court | Forest Road Tel : 020-2341110 Cell : 0722 701 333 – 0721 868 086 E-mail : info@bracedcontractors.co.ke

  5. WA YU HAVE TEW DU SAMDIN TEW DA ROAD PLZ KIJABE RESIDENT

  6. DU SAMDIN PLZ

  7. The hospital is good with high class services. The road is opposite and terrible.

  8. sure the road is terribly bad,i believe even the hospital has a role to play in clearing the mess.

  9. Finally I see the most a waited project in this part of the country of reparing the road is now on going but seems to be taking too too long as patients continue to absolve the wrath of a terible road. what happened to the contractor who was awarded the contract to rehabilitate the upper part,????????

  10. Disaster!!!!

  11. I have been here for research and the road is a total mess.
    something should be done on the same and within the shortest time possible.

  12. my brother had an accident and suffered jaw fracture. when he was admitted in Kenyatta hospital he was advised to buy some very costly equipment at a private clinic and go with them to have his fractured jaws repaired. kindly, may I ask whether he can get help of such problem in Kijabe?

  13. Am an electrical authority and after visiting your hospital recently I noticed that most of your lights are traditional lights which consume a lot of power .
    I deal with power management I.e I sell and install less power consuming led lights which are more efficient .I also deal with solar lights which can be handy in your security area kindly call me on 0723017475 for a presentation on any day.
    Regards
    Joseph

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