Nairobi Hospital Builds Virus Facility for UN Africa Workers

The United Nations entered a partnership with Kenya’s largest private hospital to set up a coronavirus treatment facility in the capital, Nairobi, to cater to the global organization’s workers and family members in Africa.

“Construction of the facility starts July 20, to open in six to eight weeks,” Nairobi Hospital Chief Executive Officer Allan Pamba said by phone Sunday. It will have an operating theater, laboratory, radiology and physiology services and 150 beds, including 25 intensive-care and 50 high-dependency units, he said.

The facility comes amid anxiety over a surge in infections in a region where clinical capacity is low and governments have largely relied on lockdowns to slow the spread of the virus. Confirmed cases took off relatively slowly in Africa but breached the 600,000 mark last week as an economic fallout led to the easing of restrictions.

The UN has its Africa headquarters in Nairobi, with more than 3,000 workers. It has other offices in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, and several peacekeeping missions with more than 70,000 personnel as of March.

Some hospitals in Nairobi are reporting they’re getting swamped. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has called a national meeting this week to review preparedness after the nation recorded more than 1,200 new infections over the weekend, with the total topping 13,300.

The new facility “will reduce the burden of caring for Covid-positive United Nations personnel and partners on the Kenyan health care system,” UN Nairobi office Director-General Zainab Hawa Bangura said.

Besides helping finance the facility, the UN will provide “specialized equipment that is in short supply globally and may not be easily available in Kenya,” Bangura said.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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