Government of Kenya Recognizes Catholic Church’s “care, love, support” Through Healthcare

Kenya's Health Cabinet Secretary, Mutahi Kagwe cuts the tape at Kiriaini Mission Hospital, marking the opening of its new ultramodern outpatient wing. Looking on is Bishop James Maria Wainaina.
Credit: Public Domain

Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Health has acknowledged with appreciation the “care, love and support offered everyday” by the Catholic Church through healthcare programs in the hundreds of health facilities, which Church leaders have established in the Dioceses across the country.

Through the Catholic Health Commission of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB), the Catholic Church runs some 497 mission hospitals, estimated to be about 30 percent of all healthcare facilities in the East African country.

“Fellow Kenyans, the government recognizes the significant contribution of the Catholic Church in the country’s health system,” the Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Health, Mutahi Kagwe said Friday July 17.

The CS was presiding over the official opening of the ultramodern outpatient wing of Kiriaini Mission Hospital belonging to Kenya’s Catholic Diocese of Murang’a.

“The thousands of patients you have served are a living testimony of the care, love and support offered everyday by the Catholic family,” Kenya’s CS for Health added in recognition of the role the Catholic Church plays in the country’s health sector.

Referencing the new outpatient wing at the 65-year-old mission hospital, the Health CS expressed confidence that the new facility will “radically improve the quality of service and infrastructure for both patients and staff.”

“I believe as we launch this facility, we are witnessing the beginning of a new era of service delivery to the local community both in the immediate future and in the years to come,” Kenya’s CS for Health said.

He termed the expansion of the hospital “timely, particularly this time we are facing this unusual pandemic (COVID-19)”, which has infected at least 12,062 people in the country and claimed 222 lives. At least 3,983 people have recovered.

The Catholic health facility, the CS further said, “also comes at a time when the government is implementing His Excellency the President’s Big Four Agenda, which includes accelerating progress towards achieving universal health coverage as a means to realizing the right to health as enshrined in the constitution.” 

Speaking at the July 17 event, the Local Ordinary of the Diocese of Murang’a, Bishop James Maria Wainaina stressed the commitment of the Catholic Church to offering health services saying, “We feel it's our mandate as the Church to take up the work of Christ as he has shown us in his ministry.”

Established in 1955 as a dispensary by Consolata Sisters, Kiriaini Mission Hospital has grown over the years to become a facility with a government-approved bed capacity of 72, distributed in gynecology and maternity, pediatric, medical wards and surgical rooms.

The facility is currently under the administration of Assisi Sisters of Mary Immaculate of India.

In January, the hospital became the second hospital facility in the 2,326 km² Murang’a County to own a CT-Scan machine, after the government-run Murang’a Level 5 Hospital.

“I am glad to note that last year, Kiriaini Mission Hospital attended to some 63,772 general outpatients, 9,031 in the specialized clinics, 3,372 hospital admissions and 1,346 maternity services,” Kenya’s CS for Health said during the July 17 event.

He recalled that the highlighted services in the last one years are consistent with the hospital’s mission “to provide holistic preventive and curative medical services to all with special concern to the poor and less advantaged in the spirit of proclamation of Christ’s healing ministry.”

“As the government continues to enhance a multi-stakeholder and cross-sectoral collaboration under the recently signed health sector partnership and coordination framework, I want to urge the county governments to explore areas of partnerships with faith-based organizations and other stakeholders with expertise in technology which may be lacking in our public health facilities,” CS Kagwe further said.

He went on to thank the country’s Interfaith Council under the leadership of Archbishop Anthony Muheria of the Catholic Archdiocese of Nyeri for developing  guidelines on the reopening of places of worship in an “extremely commendable manner.” 

He added, “I want to thank our spiritual leaders because of the manner in which they have conducted themselves since COVID-19 was announced.”

ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.

Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa
[email protected]