Graft ‘rife in healthcare sector’

Tuesday October 5 2010

PHOTO | NATION FILE A nurse attends to a recuperating ‘No’ rally blast victim at the Kenyatta National Hospital. Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission report indicts the public health sector over  sloppy supervision, or lack of it, and frequent shortage of drugs

PHOTO | NATION FILE A nurse attends to a recuperating ‘No’ rally blast victim at the Kenyatta National Hospital. Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission report indicts the public health sector over sloppy supervision, or lack of it, and frequent shortage of drugs 

By WALTER MENYA [email protected]

Massive corruption and mismanagement have been uncovered in the public healthcare sector, casting doubt on the ongoing reforms.

A Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission report brings into public focus the two ministries of health — Medical Services and Public Health — over sloppy supervision, or lack of it, and frequent shortage of drugs.

It brings out frustrations by patients at government-run hospitals, dispensaries and clinics countrywide.

The document could also provide ammunition for workers and employers opposed to the new National Hospital Insurance Fund rates that have now been put on hold by the High Court.

KACC’s report found absenteeism by medical staff, flawed procurement processes, theft of drugs and other medical supplies, and unnecessary referral of patients to private clinics as major forms of corruption.

Absenteeism by medical staff was identified as the most prevalent of the malpractices by 41 per cent of patients.

Besides, the two ministries run centralised procurement prone to corruption.

More than 56 per cent of patients indicated that they did not know the gazetted fees. Many health facilities are managed by physicians with little training as managers.

Due to poor management, health insurers such as NHIF and other players face health care fraud, where facilities bill patients for services not rendered.

“At least 23 per cent of medical practitioners cited this malpractice and 67 per cent indicated that prices are inflated,” the KACC report states.