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Residents urge Ruto to save struggling Mediheal Hospital-Eldoret

 A section of Mediheal Hospital, Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County. [ Peter Ochieng, Standard]

A section of Eldoret residents have petitioned President William Ruto to intervene and save the struggling Mediheal Group of Hospitals.

The hospital is facing a myriad of challenges including staff strikes and exodus over salary delays and a drastic drop in the number of patients visiting the facility.

Residents, led by Benjamin Letting, expressed concern over the dwindling fortunes of the hospital after touring it on Saturday.

They highlighted the hospital's importance to the community, noting that it provides affordable healthcare, employs more than 1,000 people and supports local businesses.

“This facility is not just a hospital; it's a lifeline for Eldoret,” Letting said. “We can't afford to lose it. The closure would be devastating for thousands of people who rely on it for jobs, income, and medical care,” he added.

Residents suspect that the political choices of Dr Swarrup Mishra, the hospital's founder and former Kesses MP, may have worsened his woes. 

They pleaded for forgiveness on his behalf from the Kenya Kwanza administration, emphasizing the hospital's broader value to the community.

Beyond offering quality healthcare, Mediheal drives the economy of Eldoret. Residents supply the facility with food, meat, vegetables, and fruits.

The residents fear the hospital's closure would have ripple effects not only on patients but also suppliers and their families.

“This facility serves Western Kenya residents and even those from neighbouring countries,” Letting said. “We implore the President to show mercy and not just watch as this great hospital sinks.”

Julius Tum, a resident, warned that Mediheal's closure could hinder Kenya Kwanza's goal of achieving Universal Health Coverage.

“This facility has been crucial in offering affordable complex surgeries like kidney transplants, aligning with the government's vision,” Tum said.

“Unlike before, when many residents would travel to India for treatment, this facility has become a destination for complex procedures since it has invested heavily in specialized equipment,” he added.

Celestine Magut, another resident, said that the facility had also cut a niche for itself in reproductive health, particularly fertility treatment, handling thousands of IVF cycles per year.

She said that many women had sought treatment from the facility’s fertility and diagnostics centre, which is led by Dr Mishra’s wife, Dr Pallavi Rajthan.

Charles Tanui, a teacher who is a client at the facility, said he was forced to seek medical services elsewhere after his NHIF card was declined.

“This hospital has enough doctors and health workers and advanced facilities required by the people. We ask that this facility be revived because as you can see even the wards are now deserted,” he said.

At the facility, the employees are now reportedly working on-call, attending only emergency cases.

Mediheal operates 10 hospitals in major towns including Nairobi, Kakamega, Eldoret, Nakuru and in Kigali, Rwanda.

Two weeks ago nurses at the Mediheal Hospital in Eldoret issued a strike notice over unpaid five-month salaries.

This comes amid the pending auctioning of the facility over a Sh61 million bank loan.

Mishra obtained a temporary injunction from the High Court in Eldoret restraining Legacy Auctioneer Services and Commercial International Bank (CIB) Kenya Limited from auctioning the hospital property.

Mishra and his wife Pallavi and their hospital, Mediheal Diagnostics and Fertility Centre filed a suit in the High Court in Eldoret against the auctioneers and the bank from which he secured the loan and registered the hospital as security.

In the matter before Justice Reuben Nyakundi, the former MP claimed that the property, which is the subject of the suit, hosts Mediheal Hospital.

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