Fix ailing referral hospitals – Daily Nation



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There is a glaring gap between intentions and desired objectives regarding public health and the reality on the ground. Ironically, the institutions that are expected to provide healing are themselves ailing. As a result, they cannot provide the services for which they were established.

The public health sector is at the core of the provision of medical services, as the private wing is not just tiny, but also costly and, therefore, out of the reach of the majority of Kenyans. Without the public health facilities, most of the people would be locked out of access to healthcare. This why the government continues to allocate substantive resources for the prevention and cure of illnesses.

This sector, where counties are expected to play a key role, this being a devolved function, has an admirable spread, with health centres and hospitals in every corner of the country. The huge investment is out of the realisation that a healthy nation is, indeed, a productive and prosperous one. But many public institutions lack drugs, vital facilities and enough qualified workers to man them.

There are four national referral hospitals: Kenyatta National Hospital, Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret, Mathari National Teaching and Referral Hospital and the National Spinal Injury Referral Hospital. As the National Assembly Committee on Health has found out, all are in a sorry state, with their services way below international standards.

These institutions do not just lack equipment and facilities, but are so sorely short of qualified manpower. During inspection visits, the MPs saw leaking roofs and cracked walls. The Sh70 billion allocated to the Health ministry in the current financial year to improve services and facilities has had little impact. Another Sh93 billion will be made available in the 2019/20 financial year. But the institutions are being weighed down by congestion, and lack of adequate facilities and staff to operate efficiently. These issues must be urgently addressed and solutions found.


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