Jekim Hospital Nkubu, Meru reopens after court order

Jekim Hospital Nkubu in Meru. [Phares Mutembei,Standard]

Jekim Hospital Nkubu in Meru has reopened following a High Court order on Friday, June 23.

This is even as authorities investigate the alleged involvement of some hospitals in the NHIF scam.

The hospital was among those ordered to close during the investigations due to complaints from patients who claimed that a syndicate working with NHIF staff had robbed them of NHIF funds.

However, after the hospital management sought legal intervention, Jekim Hospital reopened and resumed its normal services.

Jekim Hospital Nkubu Ltd and John Kirimi Kirimania T/A Jekim Medical Centre (petitioners) opposed the closure of the facility in South Imenti Sub County in a case presented before Meru High Court Judge Edward Muriithi.

The Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Council (KMPDC), Health CS Susan Nakhumicha, and the Attorney General were named as the first, second, and third respondents, respectively.

In their successful application to reopen the facility, the petitioners requested a conservatory order suspending the closure letters, the suspension of the hospital's license, and the closure order issued by CS Nakhumicha.

The petitioners argued that the parties involved had violated the constitution and acted contrary to Article 6(1) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the Medical Practitioners and Dentists Act.

Justice Muriithi deemed the matter urgent and directed that the application be served for hearing/directions on June 29. He issued a conservatory order suspending the two letters, both dated June 19, for a period of seven days.

The KMPDC had suspended all medical facilities identified by the Health CS for their alleged involvement in an NHIF scandal, which resulted in patients losing NHIF funds.

It was reported that some arthritis patients had undergone X-rays at Jekim Hospital before being transported by members of the syndicate to hospitals in Nairobi for surgeries and medication.

Two patients reportedly died thereafter, according to Douglas Mutea, the chairman of the Meru Assembly Health Committee, which is conducting investigations.

Meru Assembly Speaker Ayub Bundi praised the reopening of the hospital, stating that its closure would have led to job losses and loss of income for the management.

Bundi revealed that the Assembly's investigations thus far indicated that Jekim Hospital Nkubu had not received any payment from NHIF, proving its innocence.

He argued that the hospital had not treated the patients implicated in the scandal; they had only conducted unpaid X-rays.

"You cannot simply close a facility. Many people would lose their jobs, and the owner would suffer income loss," Bundi said.

He emphasized that the hospital should be allowed to operate while investigations are ongoing.

Dr Kirimi, a director at Jekim, distanced himself from the scandal even though his hospital was closed pending investigations as ordered by the Health CS.

He clarified that his facility had only conducted X-rays and had not been involved in providing treatment. He claimed that he had not received payment for the X-rays and was unaware of the suffering the patients faced after being taken to Nairobi hospitals.

Dr Kirimi called for thorough investigations into the matter.

By AFP 12 hrs ago
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