Thika District Hospital
Thika District Hospital houses over 250 beds and
a range of in- and out-patient services from
Antinatal to Tuberculosis. 'A nation free from
preventable disease and ill health' is its vision,
and with that aim the District Public Health Officer
Julius Inyingi has enthusiastically supported the construction of a
Nutrition Garden within the grounds of the
The hospital is situated with several hectares of
land earmarked for eventual expansion but which are
currently unused. The Nutrition Garden has
been located next to a clinic used for HIV+ mothers
The produce from the garden is used for the
mothers, but overall its role is primarily
educational - a facility for beginning a process
of teaching local communities the value of
improved nutrition, and ultimately to extend the
use of the basic horticultural techniques into
the towns and villages in the hospitals
The role of the project in the eyes of the
District Health Officer is multi-facited and
fits well into the overall programme for public
- to see and learn the techniques that
families and small groups can use to grow
good food themselves and not rely on cash
and markets for subsistence
- to learn to cook nutritionally.
Understanding the value of fresh produce and
how it is good for health, understanding the
relationships between the growing of crops
in cycles and a healthy menu. Seeing that
people can get what their bodies need by
growing it themselves.
- to understand the economic rationale for
growing your own food - growing your own not
buying in shops. Not only this but the
possibilities of a modest income stream from
the sale of excess produce.
- to understand how to make compost by the
use of organic waste and of work composting.
Using kitchen waste reduces environmental
pollution and adds to the fertility of the
- to obtain food from the garden and to
demonstrate tangibly the link between
year-round vegetable growing and good food
Grace Xxxxxx the hospital nutritionalist, pictured above left, is
passionate about the need for good food to help prevent illness and
help in recovery for patients.
Listen now as Grace talks about the role of
the garden for the hospital.
The garden at Thika General Hospital has a
planting programme that specifically takes into
account the nutritional needs of HIV+ patients.
Washington, its full-time gardener, keeps it
neat and tidy and shows round parties of staff
A sustainable package
The RealImpact package consists of
- year-round irrigation
- low or no-cost soil fertility through
- germination started in
propagation unit not in the soil, leading to
greater seedling survival
- nutritional and growing advice from RealImpact experts
support from a visiting Real Impact farm manager
Soil fertility is maintained by making compost
from the worm unit and by using waste from
hospital kitchens to generate compost in heaps.
Both of these methods are demonstrate to
Extending the message
The hospital's remit for hygiene and
nutrition extends all over the local area around
Thika, and the next stage in their programme is
to work with RealImpact to bring in and train
their whole network of rural health visitors so
that they in turn can take the message to local
communities. We will also work to build a
further three kitchen gardens in outlying rural
clinics where land and water is available, as
further demonstration and teaching centres.
Funded by US AID.