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SONKO'S DIRECTIVE

Good deeds order frees 62 patients held over debts

'Hospitals follow procedure before releasing them as some of them cannot trace their families'

In Summary

• Mama Lucy Hospital releases sevenpatients,  Mbagathi five as more than 50 already released.

• Some patients prefer to stay because of poor backgrounds, no relatives.

Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital along Kangundo Road
GOOD DEEDS AMBASSADOR: Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital along Kangundo Road
Image: MAUREEN KINYANJUI

At least 62 patients detained over unpaid medical bills have been released from health facilities on Governor Mike Sonko's order.

On Monday, seven patients were released from Mama Lucy Hospital and five from Mbagathi Hospital. 

The county will cover the bills. 

Nairobi County Executive Member for Health Mohammed Dagane told the Star on Wednesday that the county had spent at least Sh 1.7 million to clear the hospital bills for the patients.

"We discharged and released 38 patients in Mbagathi and 24 others in Mama Lucy hospital. We didn't have such cases in Pumwani since Maternity is free," Dagane said.

He further explained that the patients who had been detained were primary cases of general treatment and other surgical procedures.

 

Communications director Elkana Jacob told the Star on Tuesday that the process is ongoing and more patients will be released.

"The highest bill we have settled so far was at Sh180,330 for David Mutunga who was released yesterday," Elkana said.

Mariam Nyamaki who had been detained for one and a half months was released on Monday. 

"It had reached a point I had considered living in the hospital because I did not know when I would settle my bill. But I thank Governor Sonko for his good deed," Nyamaki said.

On Sunday, Sonko directed Health executive Mohammed Dagane to ensure all the patients who are unable to settle their medical bills are released. Following this, 50 were released that day. 

"As a good gesture, I am directing my CECs of Health and Finance to cover the costs of patients held at medical facilities due to lack of fees. I am ordering the immediate and unconditional discharge of patients at Mbagathi and at Mama Lucy Hospitals," Sonko said. 

The county boss issued the directive as he marked Good Deeds Day at City Hall.

 

Mama Lucy Medical Superintendent Dr Musa Mohammed said there are factors that the hospital considers before releasing the detained patients.

"Some of these patients have been released but they cannot identify themselves. Then we report to the Director of Criminal Investigations so they can help trace the relatives," Mohammed told the Star. 

He also said some patients are treated but because of their background, they ought to stay in the hospital where they get free meals and comfort. 

"This is also a challenge because we cannot release patients who have no relatives or cannot find their way back home," the superintendent said.  

This is a good transparent gesture because all the patients have to be identified first and then those in great need are released," Mohammed said.

Edited by Rosemary Wamochie