The sorry state of public hospitals should worry every Kenyan wary of the social-economic health and productivity of the population.
Six years since the Health docket was devolved, there’s little to celebrate. According to a 2019 Lancet report, at least 20,000 helpless Kenyans die annually due to poor health services. Between January and this month, the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board has shut down 38 health facilities for various blunders.
Problems in the sector are endemic, mostly resulting from sheer mismanagement of supplies, lack of funds, lack of qualified staff and equipment besides lethargy.
Some hospitals lack drugs including anti-retrovirus pills and necessities such as bedding, water and food which we understand is occasioned by debts amounting to millions of shillings owed to suppliers. In some counties, patients buy food, drinking water and blankets while under admission in public facilities from where they get referrals to buy drugs and undergo tests in private and sometimes unlicensed labs and chemists.
The current situation obtaining in public hospitals is unacceptable. To achieve Universal Health Coverage, the government has to put its acts together.
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While we take pride in counties like Makueni and Kakamega where health reforms are bearing fruit, we call upon other counties to rid the sector of entities and processes that compromise service provision.
The national government shouldn’t sit back. Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki should bring on board donors, countries, professional agencies and other partners who can support the sector with resources, personnel and knowledge.