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December 14, 2018

Awiti scraps Sh3,000 fee for admission to hospital

Homa Bay Teaching and areferral Hospital.Pix Habil Onyango
Homa Bay Teaching and areferral Hospital.Pix Habil Onyango

Following a public outcry, Homa Bay Governor Cyprian Awiti has scrapped the Sh3,000 deposit for admission to Homa Bay Teaching and Referral Hospital.

The facility’s CEO, Lilian Kocholla, had on Wednesday informed department heads through a memo that all patients being admitted are required to pay a Sh3,000 deposit.

"This takes effect immediately," the memo reads. The information leaked and there was a public uproar.

But later on Wednesday Awiti cancelled the directive, saying it was taken without consulting his office or Health executive Richard Muga.

"There is nothing like depositing Sh3,000 for a patient to be admitted at the referral hospital, the action was taken without consulting the executives," Awiti said.

"Homa Bay is a rural county and most of our people live in poverty and can’t afford the deposit." The governor spoke in Mbita.

When contacted for comment, Kocholla said the Sh3,000 advance payment was agreed upon by the hospital’s management board.

She said it is aimed at reducing loss of revenue and prevent hospital staff from fleecing patients.

She said, however, that no patient will be turned away for not being able to pay the deposit. "If the bill is less than Sh3,000, the balance will be refunded," she said.

The hospital management’s memo dated August 23 further reviewed ambulance fees for patients referred to health facilities outside the county.

Patients being referred to Kisumu are required to pay Sh5,500, Nairobi Sh22,000, while those sent to Eldoret will part with Sh10,000.

The assembly health committee has raised an alarm over lack of essential drugs, which include the ARVs, at the level four hospital and other health facilities.

Homa Bay leads the country in HIV-Aids prevalence rate at 26.7 per cent. The Health committee said the county government has failed to pay Sh140 million to Kemsa.

But Health chief officer Jennifer Ndege said the county only owes Kemsa Sh80 million, not Sh140 million.

She cited delayed disbursement of county allocations from the national government. Ndege said the county will pay once they receive the money.

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