UN to build 160-bed facility for staff in Nairobi

The United Nations office in Nairobi is putting up a 160-bed facility at the Nairobi Hospital for its staff who may be infected with Covid-19.

The facility is expected to be complete in five to eight weeks, according to reliable sources.

The facility may also be open to non-UN patients, the sources added.

The ground-breaking of the construction, which top government officials will attend, is expected Sunday.

People privy to an agreement between the UN and Nairobi Hospital on Saturday said the special unit will be based at the old nursing school opposite the main hospital.

In March, the UN began a search for facilities that could have a 100-bed capacity and capable of caring for Covid-19 patients only.

FULLY FUNCTIONAL

According to a paper outlining the technical characteristics, such a facility is required to offer a turnkey solution for a fully staffed, operational and diagnostically capable facility to care for patients with severe and critical respiratory infections.

The UN wanted the facility to also care for high-risk, mild and moderate cases primarily rather than direct admissions. The 100-bed infectious diseases hospital will only care for Covid-19 patients only and therefore will not require surgical capability.

A source told the Nation that at the moment, a hotel in Nairobi has 100 beds set aside for any UN staff who might require isolation.

Care of its staff amid the Covid-19 pandemic has been a key interest for the UN.

In June, it published a detailed medical evacuation protocol.

THE PROTOCOL

The protocol indicates that any employee who develops severe or critical symptoms of the respiratory infection should be evacuated to a severe acute respiratory infection facility, which ought to be fully equipped and with highly skilled staff.

Foreign and local staff of UN organisations and their eligible dependents, military and police personnel, and dependents deployed by the United Nations, troops in the African Union Mission in Somalia are among those eligible for evacuation.

Others are personnel of international non-governmental organisations implementing a co-ordinated humanitarian response, internationally deployed personnel of international vendors and contractors providing goods and services to UN organisations.

It is not yet clear whether the UN will continue to use the facility when Covid-19 is put under control or whether it will hand it over to one of the country’s hospitals.

Some sources said that the unit may remain as a special medical evacuation centre for UN staff in Africa.

Source: Daily Nation