The Mater Hospital was opened in 1962 by the Sisters of Mercy, a Catholic Order of Nuns originating from Ireland, three years after registering themselves as the Registered Trustees of an entity under the Perpetual Succession Act (the succeeding legislation after independence). The Sisters of Mercy first set up a 60 bed general hospital to cater mainly to poor, indigenous Kenyans, with the primary mission being general healthcare.
The colonial authorities granted 12 acres of land in a swampy, mosquito-infested area, which has since become the Industrial Area of Nairobi. In 1970, a 60-bed maternity ward was opened with antenatal, postnatal and immunization clinics attached in order to upgrade the quality of maternity healthcare available to the poorer segments of the Nairobi population.
In 1972, in recognition of the contribution of the hospital in training midwives to assist births in rural areas, Mater was chartered as a School of Midwifery.
In 1975, a consultant's block of 6 offices was opened enabling specialised consultants to practice on site and deliver significantly better medical skills to the patients.
In 1986, the hospital opened its own pharmacy, physiotherapy and laboratory services and, in 1990, opened its counselling centre for inpatients, outpatients and staff who need advice and guidance on family planning, HIV, and other concerns of a psychological and/or physical nature.
In 1995, in a major building expansion programme, the hospital opened a larger and more efficient Casualty, Accident and Emergency Department, an Intensive Care Unit and a Cardiac Unit where open-heart surgery is performed.
The hospital also entered into a strategic alliance with the International Centre for Scientific Culture - World Laboratory, an NGO based in Switzerland whose main aim is the improvement of healthcare in the developing world. The World Laboratory provided all the equipment in the Cardiac Unit and provides staff and equipment periodically to train and upgrade the ability of local medical staff to carry out complicated heart procedures.
The Mater Hospital is committed to be a leading healthcare provider in East and Central Africa and benchmark itself against the highest attainable world standards seeking continuous improvement.
The Mater Hospital has the mission to deliver timely and compassionate medical services to our patients and their families to the highest possible standard through the provision of qualified staff, the most appropriate equipment and staff training programmes. The hospital also seeks to contain its cost of operation such that the cost of medical care charged to patients remain as low and affordable as possible to as many patients as possible and such that the viability of the hospital, employment and investment are maintained online with the ethos of the Sisters of Mercy Kenya.
Mater Hospital Today
The missionary role of the Sisters of Mercy has spread to other parts of Kenya and the Mater Hospital has become a private hospital that charges a fee-for-service to a patient population that has developed locally to a much higher level of affluence compared with other parts of Kenya. The financial objective of the hospital is to provide affordable healthcare to as many people as possible but also attempt to meet all of its costs, including depreciation, in order to replace and upgrade medical equipment.