Emergency care has been a neglected area of focus in many low-and-middle-income countries (LMICs), and particularly so in sub-Saharan Africa. Thus, we aided in the establishment of the first Emergency Care Center (ECC) in rural Kenya.
Historically, priorities in low- and middle-income settings have been placed on communicable diseases, which have traditionally comprised the top three out of the ten most common causes of mortality. However, due to the focus on communicable diseases and consequences of industrialization and urbanization, the spectrum of diseases and their prevalence has been shifting. It has been predicted that by 2030, road accidents will be the fifth leading cause of death in LMICs, ahead of malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV. Along with trauma, non-communicable disease (NCD) deaths are projected to rise by 15% globally between 2010 and 2020, with the greatest increase in Africa, the eastern Mediterranean, and southeast Asia. This may be further complicated in rural areas where the poor health infrastructure, inadequate health care access, limited human and financial resources, and overall dearth of emergency care could amplify such trends and heighten the burden.
Given this unmet need, our team pioneered a newly constructed Emergency Care Center (ECC) at Sagam Community Hospital (SCH) in Luanda, Kenya. SCH is one of seven sub-district hospitals in Siaya County, Kenya with over 842,000 inhabitants, over 38% of whom live in abject poverty. SCH is a 60-bed hospital with four in-hospital wards and a modestly equipped, modern 16-bed ECC, which is the first of its kind in the country. The ECC is further divided into four areas: a two-bed resuscitation room, a four-bed step down unit, a two-bed pediatric evaluation area, and a six-bed adult evaluation area. Since opening its doors in April 2015, the ECC has treated over 24,000 patients.