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Governors push to have referral hospitals in every county

By Augustine Oduor | Published Sun, October 11th 2015 at 00:00, Updated October 10th 2015 at 21:02 GMT +3
Chairman of the Council of Governors Peter Munya (right) flanked by Kisumu Governor Jack Ranguma during a press conference in which they announced the establishing of budgets to upgrade county hospitals to referral status. [Photo:WILLIS AWANDU/STANDARD]

County Governments have committed to upgrade most of the county hospitals to referral status to cut costs and reduce deaths in clinics.

Council of Governors chairman Peter Munya yesterday said many lives were lost as patients were moved to the two major referral hospitals in Eldoret and Nairobi.

“It is unfortunate that the National Government has over 45 per cent of the health budget but cannot increase the number of referral hospitals or even boost the capacity of the existing ones,” said Munya.

For instance, he said, long queues and delayed provision of services were the trademark of Kenyatta National Hospital.

“As governors we are aware that we play a critical role in healthcare transformation and in this regard we are leading innovative efforts to improve the quality of healthcare while reducing cost,” said Munya.

The COG chairman said governors were putting in place budgets for county health service delivery in a bid to upgrade some of the county hospitals to referral hospitals.

“There are counties which invested heavily in primary healthcare this year, including basic services such as provision of clean water and good sanitation. We can transform the delivery systems by increasing the primary care workforce, integrating community medical care and encouraging healthy living choices,” said Munya.

He added that with only Sh45 billion, county governments were already posting tangible results.

“The National Government has about Sh50 billion yet we cannot see what they are doing to decongest referral hospitals,” said Munya.

Speaking yesterday, the Meru governor said recruitment and retention of medical staff is at an all time high, citing northern counties that have posted up to 700 per cent recruitment and retention of doctors.

“Some counties in the north had one doctor and now they have 16. Another had only two and now has 18,” said Munya.

He asked the National Treasury to send money to one central pool.

“They still send cash to individual facilities and sometimes county government health executives are not informed,” said Munya.

“We want the monies to be released early enough to the counties so that we can plan with it and also ease accountability."

Kisumu County Governor Jack Ranguma supported Munya's statement.

Ranguma said counties are also wooing universities and medical training colleges to establish campuses in their regions and boost the pool of medical services providers.

“Once we have these institutions we shall reap big and the staffing of medical services providers will be raised to higher levels compared to the current status,” he said.

The two governors said healthcare costs were escalating and many families were struggling to pay for treatment.

“County Governments are shifting focus from volume-based care to improving health outcomes,” said Munya.

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