Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital (JOOTRH), the biggest hospital in Nyanza, could soon be turned into a parastatal by the Kisumu County government to position it for more funding and expansion.
A bill to this end spearheaded by Governor Anyang' Nyong’o is being drafted, and will be presented to the county assembly for consideration.
The move is expected to secure the hospital more funding to make it better able to handle the growing demand, not just in Kisumu, but from neighbouring counties as well.
The facility has seen a sharp increase in patients over the last two years, attributed to the piloting of the Universal Health Coverage (UHC), which offers services free of charge.
“With the advent of UHC, there has been an influx of patients and this has taken a toll on the facility. If it were a parastatal with proper funding, this would help it offer more efficient services to all,” said Prof Nyong’o. According to Governor Nyong’o, the process of turning JOOTRH into a parastatal has been in the pipeline for a long time.
He revealed that he had conducted intense research, together with the facility’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Peter Okoth, which saw them visit highly esteemed medical facilities such as the Harvard Medical Centre to understand how to make it work.
“The main aim of the transformation is to give it autonomy, so that the facility is divorced from the government’s Health department. As an autonomous outfit, it will be run by a board,” Prof Nyong’o said.
He said the hospital currently receives conditional grants from the Treasury, which are not enough for its operations.
“The facility is also a teaching and referral hospital. If it cannot effectively finance its functions, it can’t discharge its duties. When it is a parastatal, it will be able to attract more partners and funding,” said Prof Nyong’o.
JOOTRH has a training facility that offers specialised courses.
In the 2018/2019 financial year, it raised Sh3.4 million, which dropped to Sh3.2 million in 2019/20, which cannot finance the training programme.
It charges Sh230,000 per student, but this money is not ploughed back to improve it but goes to the County Revenue Fund account.
Governor Nyong’o said converting the hospital into a parastatal will free the Ministry of Health so that it can focus on managing the smaller health facilities in the county.