August 06, 2002

Kenya: a First for the Mater Hospital, Nairobi

The Mater Hospital Nairobi recently became the first hospital in East and Central Africa to acquire ISO 9001:2000 Quality Management Certification.

Opened in 1962 by Sisters of Mercy from Ireland, the hospital was set up as a 60-bed general hospital to cater mainly for poor, indigenous Kenyans, with the primary mission being in 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. Today, the hospital has a large, efficient accident and emergency department, an intensive care unit and a cardiac unit where open-heart surgery is performed. These services are in addition to maternal healthcare, the school of midwifery, a consultancy block, pharmacy, physiotherapy, laboratory services, and counselling services.

While the missionary role of the Sisters of Mercy has spread to other parts of Kenya, the leadership of the pioneer Mercies is expressed in the emphasis on compassionate and professional nursing care that patients receive at the hospital.

In 2001 almost 110,000 patients came to the hospital for treatment This includes 10,000 expectant mothers who came for ante-natal clinics and to give birth. Mr Michael Scanlon, Chief Executive officer of the Mater Hospital, says that the hospital is committed to seeing any patient coming in to casualty within 30 minutes of registration. The staff of 546, committed to providing holistic care, is encouraged by patient questionnaires which give very high praise to the chaplaincy, to nursing, and to the cleanliness of the hospital. One patient pinpointed local pride in the hospital's achievement as satisfaction for unique, friendly, courtesy. 'That spirit of courtesy shall always charm and console the Mater patients, their friends and relatives.'

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