SERVICE DELIVERY STATUS

Most Kenyans unhappy with public hospitals — Infotrak

Survey shows that doctors are absent and drugs and tests for key diseases are not available

In Summary

• Among Kenyans, who make less than Sh23,000 a month, 71 per cent visited public facilities for their health needs in the period under review.

• Davji Bhimji,  Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union secretary general, defended doctors, saying they are unavailable because they have not been employed.

Patients at Mukuru kwa Reuben Level 3 Hospital on August 13, 2021
CROWDED: Patients at Mukuru kwa Reuben Level 3 Hospital on August 13, 2021
Image: WILFRED NYANGERESI

Only half of Kenyans who visit public health facilities are satisfied with the services they receive, a survey by Infotrak shows.

The patients cite poor services and lack of health workers, with nine out of 10 saying doctors were absent and they were only served by nurses.

The survey shows most Kenyans stop patronising public health facilities immediately after their income rises to middle-class levels.

“Forty-eight per cent of Kenyans who visited public health facilities between the end of 2020 and mid-2021 said they were satisfied with the services they received.”

At least 1,200 people from 24 counties in the former eight provinces were interviewed via telephone in June this year.

“Fifty-three per cent of Kenyans who visited public health facilities between the end of 2020 and mid-2021 noted that they had inadequate resources such as medical equipment and drugs,” Walter Nyakundi, Infotrak’s research manager, said when presenting the results in Nairobi on Tuesday.

He said they conducted the survey to understand the status of health services in Kenya during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Notably, the satisfaction levels are extremely lower than those presented in the Ministry of Health's internal reports.

For instance, the Health Sector Performance Report (2008-09) showed facilities under the ministry have an overall customer satisfaction index of 80.24 per cent.  

The Infotrak survey shows 71 per cent of Kenyans, who make less than Sh23,000 a month, visited public facilities for their health needs in the period under review.

“This indicates that Kenyans are still very much in need of public health infrastructure for their healthcare needs,” Nyakundi said.

However, that drops to 44 per cent among those with income between Sh23,000 and Sh119,000.

From a monthly income of Sh120,000, the share of Kenyans who patronise public facilities drops to 35 per cent.

Nine in 10 Kenyans who sought treatment at public health facilities during this period were attended to by a nurse, the survey shows.

Davji Bhimji, Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union secretary general, defended doctors, saying they are unavailable because they have not been employed.

“In Kenya, one doctor serves about 16,000 patients against the recommended one to 1,000 patients by the World Health Organization,” he said.

“There is still a shortage of doctors in rural health facilities yet we have about 2,000 doctors who are unemployed.”

The survey also showed about two in five Kenyans spend under Sh10,000 on healthcare annually for themselves and their extended families.

Only one in five Kenyans said they have any form of health insurance.

The survey also found that about 20 per cent of Kenyans have recently assisted somebody close to them to offset a medical bill for Covid-19 treatment.

“About two in five Kenyans assisted by either making personal cash donations or contributing at fundraisers.”

 

Edited by Kiilu Damaris