Inside Kenya's Luxury Wards
Healthcare is a vital component of our everyday lives. Years ago, there were medicine men to take care of this aspect of life.
Now we have doctors. The evolution has been visible as the years progress.
From the use of tree barks and leaves and all other odd bits for medication to what we now consider advanced items like tablets and injections.
Today, a doctor can perform complicated surgery without opening up a patient by using laser and laparoscopy procedures.
The face of healthcare today has advanced tremendously.
As a young boy, Maina Maingi, 51, never thought he would have a TV in his home leave alone one in his hospital room.
Yet today, executive and VIP wards are just but a sign or symbol of how the status quo is evolving.
To help ease one’s stay, hospital beds in these rooms are carefully dressed to look like those that would fit perfectly in a five-star hotel room.
As we walk into Malindi Ward at the Karen Hospital, the artwork and the table top décor catches the eye.
The pictures and art on the wall may pass as conventional; but the pot pourri in delicate looking ceramic bowls that come in different designs and colours just like the décor they hold, is a less conventional choice.
We enter one of the rooms; each room is named after a place in Kenya.
The rooms are much larger than those in the private ward, expansive windows look out into the manicured gardens.
The light in the room is natural, giving that feel of the outdoor while you are still essentially indoors.
The plasma screen TV fitted on the wall gives an alternative source of entertainment while you are getting your care and treatment in a higher resolution than your average screen.
The “guests” in these rooms have their own sitting area. Yes, not the conventional lone hardback seat next to the bed, but a five-seater leather couch with a lovely glass table in its centre bearing what looks like signature bowl of pot pourri.
A fridge, a microwave and for those in the deluxe suite, a cooker in a sort of kitchenette area, are provided for the patient’s culinary needs.
The menu is left to your discretion and some even bring their own chefs to make their meals.
And just in case one fears not being in touch with the happenings of the outside world, the rooms come fitted with internet ports where you can tap into the hospital’s network to be online.
The Nairobi Hospital may look deceptively small as you drive into the gates but the establishment is quite sizeable.
The executive and VIP wards are hosted in the South and North Wings where the rooms are ensuite with built in wardrobes, a fridge and a balcony overlooking the garden and scenery that the area has to offer.
The bathrooms are modern and spacious and built to cater for patients with disability.
On the other side of town at the Aga Khan University Hospital, The Princess Zahra Pavilion, named after the daughter of His Highness the Aga Khan, is the executive wing at the hospital, which gives you the option of staying at the standard room, the VIP room or the executive suite.
Each room is fitted with centralised air conditioning to keep the temperatures in the room stable.
Wireless Internet is provided as well as a telephone and satellite television.
There is no need to worry about grooming when there are visitors coming as the pavilion also has a hair salon.
A banking room is just a floor away so and a business centre also offers you office amenities.
Outside the Aga Khan Heart and Cancer Centre, is a water fountain with the soothing sound of water in the background with outdoor sitting space not too far away.
The Nairobi Hospital has a lovely red carpet right at the main entrance, a sign of the importance they accord their patients and visitors.
The Karen Hospital goes green; the trees, lawns and flowers grace the entrance of the hospital.
“Dr Betty Gikonyo, co-founder of the Heart-to-Heart Foundation and CEO of the hospital, loves the environment.
"She believes that there is more to healthcare than the medical bit. The gardens offer a good environment to help patients recover” says Victor Odhiambo, marketing officer at the Karen Hospital.
I look around and see many patients and their relatives sitting out in the garden enjoying the sunlight and the fresh air far from city traffic and congestion.
Direction markers from the lobby of each hospital show the direction to which you should head and the receptionists at the entrance let you know where to go or who to see.
With the changing times, with new equipment and techniques coming in, BDlife seeks to know how these hospitals cope with the changes.
The Karen Hospital medical staff go through the CME programme (continuous medical education) where they are trained on a rotational basis on the new techniques in healthcare and on use of new equipment.
When dealing with executives and VIPs, privacy comes in as a top request.
The non-disclosure forms signed by staff ensure that they do not reveal who the patients in these rooms are and the ward is served strictly by specific nurses.
“Most patients come in with their own physicians but if not, Dr Dan Gikonyo or Anthony Gikonyo attend to them.
"The number of staff who access this section is kept at a minimal, making it easier to keep the privacy of the patient,” says Odhiambo.
The case is the same at the Nairobi Hospital.
“There is a confidentiality clause in the contracts of all the staff who work in these executive wards and our security service is fully aware of the need for VIP care,” says Dr Louise Lwai-Lume, the accident and emergency co-ordinator at the hospital.
She explains that “the staff is trained by suppliers at the time of installation of new equipment and follow-up training conducted as and when necessary."
The endoscopy and renal sections stand out. The endoscopy ward has specialised doctors and consultants dealing with the patients.
According to Sister Ann Ngugi, all the equipment available is state-of-the- art and all the staff is trained on how to use them.
Talking about the privacy of their executive patients, Edina Mullumba of the Aga Khan University Hospital says “You will not know who is staying with us unless they tell you they are here.”
Large rooms with expansive windows and plenty of space, reclining leather seats, a selection of soft drinks, a fruit basket, and a copy of your favourite daily newspaper are but a taste of what is in these rooms, a kitchenette to allow for you to make tea, a microwave, a fridge to warm or cool you meals respectively, a spectacular view of the gardens and the horizon, beds that make you forget that you are in hospital are among the luxuries you get in these rooms.
The décor is tastefully done creating a feel of a hotel room rather than a hospital.
The catch in all this is the cost. While a private room at the Karen Hospital will set you back Sh15,000 a day, an executive room will cost you between Sh26,300 and Sh29,350 a day depending on whether it is deluxe or not.
Lodgers are also provided for at the facility should the patient need someone to stay with them.
This comes at a cost of Sh5,000 for a normal private room and between Sh8,000 and Sh9,000 for a non-medical lodger.
The Aga Khan’s Princess Zahra Pavillion executive room comes at Sh32,000 a day, the executive suite at Sh38,000 a day.
For a lodger, the cost will vary at Sh5,000 in the executive room and Sh6,250 in the suite.
The Nairobi Hospital charges are at Sh19,000 a day in the South Wing which is the executive wing and Sh27,100 in the North wing, which is the VIP section.
For a lodger in the North Wing, a patient will part with Sh10,000 and Sh6,000 in the South Wing.
Source: Business Daily Africa