Author: Gordon Otieno Odundo
Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya — founded in 1947 after a land donation from Col. Ewart Grogan,in memory of his wife, Gertrude Edith — is the oldest pediatric facility in East and Central Africa. The hospital offers child health services, vaccinations and primary care, maintaining high standards by employing skilled professionals who help to keep wait times down. A steady flow of patients take advantage of the hospital’s convenient location. The hospital, which won a Millennium Development Goal Award, is modeled by other healthcare providers in Kenya.
People throughout the world struggle to find a model that can financially sustain children’s health But, Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital has evolved into a “giving” hospital, winning prestigious awards for Corporate Social Responsibility. Gertrude’s has and will always be a simple hospital, and has come full circle as a place of hope for sick children who have no expectations elsewhere.
Gertrude’s relies on local suppliers for hospital equipment. Because these suppliers own rights to this equipment and medicine, the hospital is able to contract for maintenance that ensures supplies are not delayed when passing through the port.
Charitable Trust: Benefits Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital operates as a charitable trust. All profits are invested back into the facility. The Board of Trustees volunteers oversight of the hospital and is responsible for all policy decisions. The board does not receive any rewards or emoluments for its charitable work. There are no share- holders; services are rendered for a fee. Any surplus is reinvested into more equipment and expanded services.
Patients support the hospital’s routine management. Gertrude’s often relies on donors for the purchase of the expensive paediatric technology. Funding appeals are committed toward the charitable work of the hospital. In 2013, the hospital received a KSh 50 million donation from I&M Bank and Bhagwanji Raja Foundation to install state-of-the-art equipment in both the intensive care unit and radiology department.
The hospital hosts charitable events, such as a golf tournament, to raise money. A separate trust called “Gertrude’s Hospital Foundation,” partners with investors toward hospital improvements.
Chandaria Medical Centre Up until this recent gift, Gertrude’s shouldered the entire expense for improvements. President Uhuru Kenyatta opened the four-story expansion at Chandaria Medical Centre, which featured a state-of-the-art paediatric unit, surgical ward, specialist units and a radiology centre, in 2013. The Chandaria Foundation contributed Ksh 100 million – the largest donation to date — toward construction.
For an organization that began 60 years ago with a small staff and 16 beds, the opening was significant. Gertrude’s is now able to offer a genuine paediatric center provides almost every available treatment a child might need in Sub-Saharan Africa. Roughly 6,000 patients and 300,000 outpatients annually take of advantage of the hospital’s 100 beds, 11 outpatient centres and 21 specialty clinics.
Professional Training College Gertrude’s offers challenging career opportunities and supports training for health workers in Kenya and extending into Mombasa as well. The most recent training is geared toward skilled nurses and children in need of critical care. The Training College attracts applicants from Kenya, Rwanda, and as far as Zambia.
Safe Environments Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital believes in creating environments for families and children, where great healthcare can be provided. Gertrude’s, which plans to establish services for children in Nairobi and 500km away in Mombasa in the coming year, is working toward Joint Commission International Accreditation by the end of 2015.
About the Author
Gordon Otieno Odundo, MBA, is chief executive of Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital, which, during his tenure, has won many awards for excellence, some in nursing and others in management.