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Report reveals sorry state of affairs in referral hospitals

Monday May 13 2019

Entrance of Mathari Hospital, for the mentally retarded, on April 14, 2010. People with mental illnesses tend to be poorer than those in good mental health. PHOTO | FILE

The Mathari National Teaching and Referral Hospital. The four national referral hospitals in the country are in a sorry state and the quality of services they offer does not meet international standards, a parliamentary committee report has said. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

DAVID MWERE
By DAVID MWERE
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The four national referral hospitals in the country are in a sorry state and the quality of services they offer does not meet international standards, a parliamentary committee report has said.

The damning revelations in the report by the National Assembly Committee on Health, tabled in the House, includes lack of equipment and facilities, inadequate and qualified manpower, leaking roofs and cracked walls, all of which are blamed on poor funding by the national government.

COMPROMISED

In the current financial year, about Sh70 billion was allocated to the Ministry of Health to cater for hospitals. Some Sh93 billion has been allocated for the 2019/20 financial year.

The sorry state of affairs in the hospitals and the general lack of set standards for functional health institutions has compromised the status of the facilities, services offered and staff ratio or a functional health institution.

The findings were made after visits to Kenyatta National Hospital, Mathari National Teaching and Referral Hospital, National Spinal Injury Referral Hospital and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital.

The committee is chaired by Murang’a Woman Rep Sabina Chege.

The report is an eye opener to the government’s claim of commitment to the provision of quality medical care even as it strives to ensure universal and affordable healthcare for all by 2022.

UNDERSTAFFED

For instance, KNH, the largest referral hospital in the country, currently needs Sh3.6 billion and another Sh4.9 billion in the next financial year for its operations.

The constrained funding has severely affected service delivery.

“The lack of critical equipment has seen services severely hampered. The CT-scan project by the ministry is yet to be delivered while the procurement of the MRI scan has taken inordinately long,” the report partly reads.

Mathari is understaffed and at the maximum security unit, one nurse is in charge of 147 patients, putting into question the seriousness of the government to adequately care for mental health patients.

In Eldoret, overcrowding remains a major challenge at MTRH, which covers 21 counties with about 25 million people.

Despite having a bed capacity of 900, MTRH experiences daily workload of about 1500 outpatients and 1200 inpatients and a bed occupancy of 110 per cent.