7,964 health facilities in Nairobi are illegal

Most city residents could be getting treatment from quacks in unlicensed facilities

In Summary

• 9,043 registered health facilities, 1,079 are licensed as at March 29.

• County has been cracking down, only 147 facilities closed so far, inspectors trained.

Beyond Zero Mobile Clinic
Beyond Zero Mobile Clinic

A clinic in Dandora linked to the death of human rights activist Caroline Mwatha is among 7,964  illegal health facilities in Nairobi.

A report by the county assembly Health committee paints a grim picture of the status of health facilities. It says only 1,079 out of 9,043 health facilities are licensed to operate.

This means that the majority of residents could be getting health services from 'quacks'.

The statistics mean that of every 10 health facilities, eight are likely to be unlicensed. 

"There are 9,043 registered health facilities, 1,079 are licensed as at March 29," the survey says.

The report was requested by Dandora 4  MCA Francis Ngesa on February 19, regarding the operations of illegal clinics in the county.

Minority Whip Peter Imwatok condemned the county for not closing the facilities.

"I expected the executive to have closed all the registered clinics but up to date, they are operating. This is a serious case and will even promote quacks such as Mugo wa Wairimu," he said.

He urged the health committee to ensure those city health facilities are safe for residents.

Health committee chairman Peter Warutere said that the committee will work with the executive to ensure that only licensed health facilities will only be open to the public.

County Health executive for Health Mohammed Dagane said more than  147 illegal facilities have been shut down.

The county government and all the regulatory boards and councils carried out a crackdown on health facilities from December 5 to 7 last year.

"Facilities that did not comply with health requirements were closed down," Dagane said.

He said the county's role is to inspect health facilities upon the request from the proprietor, who must be accredited to operate a medical institution by regulatory boards. He or she must have a valid practising license.

"Inspection of medical Institutions is done once for the purpose of registration," Dagane said.

Regulatory boards include the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board, the Nursing Council, the Clinical Officers Council, Laboratory Board, Radiation  Board and the Pharmacy and Poisons Board.

The regulatory boards are expected to ensure compliance of the personnel to their regulations.

However, it was revealed that standalone pharmacies, laboratory and radiology services are not regulated directly by the  Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board.

Inspection of the facilities and issuing of licenses are carried out by their respective boards.

In the inspection, it was revealed that the New Njiru Community Centre off John Osogo road in Dandora Phase 4 located off John Osogo road never applied for inspection and licensing. It is allegedly the place where Mwatha died of a botched abortion.

It was said the facility was repainted and has remained closed since February 9.

In the same ward, of 27 health clinics, only three are licensed to operate.

Dagne further said that five health inspectors have been trained by the Ministry of Health and all the regulatory boards and councils.

" The officers are in the process of being gazetted as Joint Health Inspectors and will be mandated to inspect all facilities to enhance patients' safety and care," he added.

In addition, Dagane said that the public health officers are currently on the ground verifying the facilities without valid licenses, demanding corrective measures to comply with regulations.

Edited by Victoria Graham