Referral hospital’s ICU and theatre shut as cash crisis reaches peak - Daily Nation

Referral hospital’s ICU and theatre shut as cash crisis reaches peak

Monday October 17 2011

Jared Nyataya | NATION Eldoret North MP William Ruto (left) talks to Mr Moses Barasa, a patient at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital on October 17, 2011, when several MPs visited.

Jared Nyataya | NATION Eldoret North MP William Ruto (left) talks to Mr Moses Barasa, a patient at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital on October 17, 2011, when several MPs visited. 

By GERALD ANDAE [email protected]

The intensive care and theatre units at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital have been closed due to a cash crisis.

But acting director Aly Omar could neither confirm nor deny the closure of the essential units to local politicians on an impromptu visit to the hospital.

The management is blaming the Treasury for not honouring its budget allocations.

Dr Omar said the hospital asked the Treasury for Sh2.1 billion last year but only received Sh1.27 billion.

Area MP Peris Simam and three other lawmakers wanted to know why standards at the hospital had deteriorated.

Management problems

“Can we still refer to this as a referral hospital when the ICU and theatre are not working?” asked Eldoret North MP William Ruto.

While Dr Omar maintained that financial problems were the cause of the hospital’s miseries, the MPs said that was only part of the problem.

They insisted that the management was also to blame.

The leaders said the hospital was operating efficiently five years ago and started experiencing unending problems when management was changed.

This was in apparent reference to former chief executive Haroun Mengech whose term’s renewal was marked by controversy.

Mr Ruto demanded to know why Dr Mengech’s re-appointment was blocked after he had gone through a transparent nomination process that saw him emerge tops.

Mr Omar said digging into the history of the hospital would not solve the problem.

“Let us dwell on what needs to be done. Relating history will not solve anything,” Dr Omar told the politicians.

He said that the only way to save the hospital was through an injection of funds to buy essential items.

The doctor said there was an acute shortage of drugs as suppliers had stopped deliveries due to debts, some of which date back three years.

A hospital board member, Mr Seid Keittany, disagreed with Dr Omar, saying the management was to blame for the institution’s woes.

“If Mr Mengech was still here, the hospital would not be in such a situation,” said Mr Keittany, amid applause from the politicians.

The appointment of the hospital’s CEO has been shrouded in controversy, with local leaders rooting for Dr Mengech, whose re-appointment was blocked by the Medical Services ministry even after Prime Minister Raila Odinga announced that he would be back on the job.