Governor Cyprian Awiti has revoked a new controversial fee introduced by the county’s main referral hospital.
Patients were required to pay Sh3,000 to be admitted to Homa Bay County Referral Hospital under a new policy announced by the facility’s board of management.
The fee, which was imposed on Wednesday morning ostensibly to fight cartels, was greeted with uproar, forcing the governor to revoke it hours later.
Awiti said the fee would prevent residents from seeking medication at the hospital.
“The hospital must stop implementing the policy forthwith. No patient will be required to pay Sh3,000 in order to be admitted as earlier announced by the board,” Awiti said when he opened new wards at Mbita Sub County Hospital.
Deputy governor Hamilton Orata said imposition of such fees negates the county government’s efforts to provide affordable healthcare.
“Our objective is to ensure every Homa Bay resident accesses affordable medical care. We cannot increase the burden on patients who seek medical care,” said Orata.
The hospital’s chief executive officer Lilian Kocholla introduced the fee to fight cartels.
“There are people who masquerade as hospital staff. They hoodwink patients to give them money with a promise of providing them with special attention. The fee was meant to enable patients know that no more money should be chanelled through any other person,” Dr Kochola said.
She said the fee would not prevent residents from getting healthcare from the hospital.
Cancellation of the fee came as a relief for residents who had strongly opposed its introduction.
Led by the head of Homa Bay County Bunge la Wenye Nchi Walter Opiyo, the residents said the move was likely to spark off riots.
“Homa Bay residents are faced with financial challenges and do not require unnecessary taxation of this nature. The governor has salvaged this county from looming chaos,” said Opiyo.
Awiti called on the residents to register for National Hospital Insurance Fund to make healthcare more affordable.