The Kericho County Government has abolished ambulance fees for emergency referrals.
The chief officer of medical services, Dr David Ekuwam, ordered this in a memorandum to the county director of health Dr Betty Langat, all medical superintendents, county officers and facility managers.
This followed complaints by residents that relatives of poor patients in critical condition were made to pay Sh5,000 before an ambulance was released to rush them for further treatment, resulting to unnecessary deaths.
"This is to inform you that the Department of Health has resolved to scrap all charges for emergency ambulance services from all public health facilities within the county with immediate effect," read the letter.
Dr Ekuwam said Governor Paul Chepkwony's vision was to continuously promote access to quality healthcare for all residents and to ensure that those referred by the medical personnel for specialised emergency treatment are enabled to do so without undue delay.
"This move has been communicated to all staff in charge of medical facilities across the county and will be implemented with immediate effect," said Dr Ekuwam.
Most referrals made from Kericho-based hospitals are to either to Nairobi and Eldoret, or to Tenwek Hospital in neighbouring Bomet County.