Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu’s efforts to revamp the health sector have started paying off after the county referral hospital was elevated to a level five health facility.
According to certificate number GK-014107 dated June 20, 2019 and signed by the Council Chief Executive Officer Daniel Yumbya, the hospital has been licensed to operate as a level five public medical institution, in accordance with Rule 5 of the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Rules.
The elevation by the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board is significant because the hospital will henceforth be eligible for an annual allocation of Sh300 million from the national government, among other benefits.
The hospital met certain accreditation criteria including the necessary infrastructure sitting on a 10 acres of land, 300 bed capacity, more than 50 medical officers of various specialisations, an operating theatre, specialist clinics and a radiology unit with X-ray machines.
Other conditions include a well-run pharmaceutical supply, specialised medical equipment like an MRI machine, a CT scan machine which the county acquired recently, improved cleanliness and medical services.
The endorsement by the medical board immediately saw the hospital accredited by medical insurance firms AON Minet, which covers teachers and police officers, and Madison Insurance besides the National Hospital Insurance Fund.
Governor Ngilu, a former Health minister in the Kibaki administration, said she understands what needs to be done to turn around the ailing health sector in the counties, and that the elevation is testimony of improved services at the hospital.
The governor said the new status will see more specialised medical consultants operating at the hospital thus saving residents from the agony of traveling to Nairobi or other counties to seek treatment for complicated procedures.
“In the last two years, patient traffic at the county referral hospital tripled from 400 patients to more than 1,200 patients daily, another indication that people have confidence in the improved medical services” the governor said.
This, she said, will allow the hospital to operate sustainably on its own and free its budget into improving services in other level four hospitals in Mwingi, Mutomo and other sub-counties.
“We are setting up an intensive care unit, a burns unit and a maternal theatre at the main hospital this financial year to further improve on efforts to make Kitui a model county in the provision of quality and affordable healthcare to poor households,” she said.
Mrs Ngilu said she decided to prioritise the health sector because all development is hugely dependent on the health of the people and that the scheme will relieve residents of colossal hospital debts that often lead to detention of patients in public and private hospitals.
She said the Kitui County Health Insurance Cover (K-Chic) is designed to revolutionise the health sector in the region and ensure all people have access to high quality health services in a first major step of liberating them from the disease burden.
Last year, Kitui County employed a team of 35new specialised medical staff comprising of 27 doctors, eight pharmacists and 60 nurses as it unveiled an ambitious health insurance scheme (K-Chic) which provides medical cover to all residents.
Mrs Ngilu said with the county’s universal health coverage programme, residents of Kitui, especially the needy, will no longer have to choose between food and medical care.