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January 16, 2019

Mama Lucy wants city to close nearby private clinics and labs

Patients outside Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital in Nairobi/ FILE
Patients outside Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital in Nairobi/ FILE

The management of Mama Lucy Kibaki hospital has protested the mushrooming of private clinics, pharmacies and laboratories around the facility and demanded their licenses withdrawn.

Medical superintendent Musa Mohamed has written to the county government to cancel the operating licenses of the facilities saying they are interfering with the operations of the hospital.

Musa said that the operators have been directing patients seeking services in the main hospital to their facilities, where they overcharge and offer substandard services thus tarnishing the name of the hospital.

“The request for this letter is to request for the intervention of the county governor through it various arms like licensing department to withdraw the licenses of the facilities across the hospital,” reads the letter dates August 2.

The letter was addressed to Health services chief officer and copied to Governor Mike Sonko.

A spot check by the Star show that there are more month than 30 private clinics, laboratories and pharmacies right opposite the Mama Lucy hospital.

More than 1,200 patients seek medical services at Mama Lucy Kibaki hospital each day. However, the hospital has been grappling with many challenges including lack of drugs and shortage of staff.

It this high number of patients and lack of basic medical supplies that has attracted the establishment of private facilities around the main hospital.

There have been claims the private facilities are owned by doctors working at Mama Lucy but the Star could not independently verify the claims.

Some patients who spoke to the Star claim that the medics have been referring them to specific facilities outside the main hospital for services that are offered in the public hospital.

Patients also claim they are referred to the facilities for mainly laboratory tests and drugs. They are charged more than three times the normal cost.

“It is normal to be referred to the clinics because sometimes you are sick or you have a patient and you are not that the drugs you want are not available in the hospital. What do you do? You will buy it wherever you are told to save yourself or relative,” patient Tom Ogalo told the Star at the facility yesterday.

This is the third time the hospital management is seeking the intervention of the county government on the mushrooming of the private facilities.

He wrote to the county on April 10, 2014 and on September 6, 2016 but no action was taken to remove the facilities from the vicinity of the main hospital.

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