Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki was the featured speaker on Friday at the official opening of the Karen Hospital, described by the East African Standard newspaper as "a 102-bed private medical facility linked to his personal doctor Dr Dan Gikonyo." The Kenya Broadcasting Corporation reported that "other speakers included Health Minister Charity Ngilu who thanked President Kibaki for increasing her ministry's budget by 30 percent, the hospital's Chief Executive Dr. Betty Gikonyo and Deputy Chief Executive Mr. James Mageria."
Dr. Daniel Gikonyo, mentioned in the Standard's story, is a U.S.-educated (University of Minnesota) cardiologist who teaches at the University of Nairobi. Although he would be loathe to take credit, he was the guiding hand behind the Karen Hospital, the first new hospital built in Kenya since the colonial era. (Kenya gained independence from Britain on December 12, 1963.)
If you've seen the movie, Out of Africa, you know where Karen is -- it's the Nairobi suburb where Danish writer Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen) lived and worked.
I had an opportunity to take a private tour of the Karen Hospital when I was in Nairobi in January, and I snapped a few pictures. This was the first time I ever had visited a hospital before it was open. Beds were still covered in plastic wrap and there was a pervasive aroma of fresh paint throughout the facility.
But nothing describes the Karen Hospital more than "impressive." It has state-of-the-art equipment, including MRI and CT-scan machines. It is especially well-equipped for treating diseases of the heart.
Here are a few of the photos I took while the hospital staff was preparing it for opening in January:
Main Entrance to The Karen Hospital
The Karen Hospital's Emergency Room Entrance
A CT-Scan Unit at the Karen Hospital near Nairobi
The Karen Hospital Has No Stairs, Just Ramps -- But It Has Plenty of Natural Light
A New Hospital Bed, Still Wrapped in Plastic
I'm Not a Doctor, So I Don't Know What This Is -- But It Looks Impressive, Doesn't It?
This Is a Nurses' Station
A Private Patient's Room
Another View of the Karen Hospital's Front Entrance