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February 18, 2019

Garissa hospital ‘cannot explain’ Sh19m usage

A patient sits on the bench at the Garissa county refferal hospital on on December 7,2017Photo /file
A patient sits on the bench at the Garissa county refferal hospital on on December 7,2017Photo /file

The Garissa Health committee has exposed irregularities in the referral hospital, including loss of public funds and unexplained freezing of accounts.

The committee’s report says the hospital board formed in 2008 is unaware of facility operations. It was tabled in the assembly before MCAs broke for recess last week.

The committee was investigating claims of negligence and mismanagement of referral hospital unds brought before the house by nominated MCA Fatuma Abdi.

The report describes the hospital as a ‘world of its own’, with no financial independence. It is micromanaged by the executive, leaving Health chief officer Isnino Rage unable to explain  how Sh19 million from the NHIF account was spent.

Rage told the committee members she could not take any action before the internal audit she asked  is completed.

The committee chaired by Ijara MCA Irshad Osman was told of two accounts — one which existed before devolution and another opened for free maternity.

They were frozen with no prior communication or justification. Other accounts were opened and operated by the Health chief officer.

CEO Salah Dagane said the hospital received Sh60 million from the Sh144 million annual allocations in 2017-18.

The committee members were told the hospital never received funds for the annual Sh400 million state grant.

The report notes that the hospital board is rarely involved in operations like hiring, recommending additional staff and approval of plans and projects.

Rage said members of the Level 5 hospital board have not performed well and there are plans to re-constitute it.

Health executive Ahmed Ndhir said although funds released to the hospital have been scarce, the deficit has not hurt operations.

The MCAs recommended that the executive should release all funds for the referral hospital and no further withholding should be reported.

The county lawmakers pushed for  the reopening of accounts and the hospital given autonomy in the operations.

The Health committee recommended that the board should have more public representation that includes the business community, religious groups, women and youths.

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