•The Dubai-based but UK originated hospital says it wants a structured engagement with local specialized physicians and clinics to ease the pressure on sick Kenyans and loved one's seeking treatment abroad.
A Dubai hospital has sealed a partnership arrangement that would see patients receive local consultation in Kenya and then have a seamless transition to the care they need a broad.
In the era of expensive medical treatment for chronic illnesses such as cancer, an arrangement that would easily link the patients, their local healthcare provider and the hospitals they seek to transition to abroad would be a welcome reprieve.
It is estimated that more than 10,000 Kenyans travel abroad annually in pursuit of medical treatment, spending at least Sh10 billion annually.
The country, however, gets only 3,000 visitors from around the world seeking treatment in the arrangement of medico-tourism.
Most patients and families have to part with copious sums of money engaging brokers and interlocutors when arranging to get specialized foreign medical consultancies and linking up with doctors to help them.
But this could change if the new trend picks pace.
Last week, senior representatives of Kings College Hospital London Dubai (KCHLD) visited the county hoping to establish partnerships with major consultants and clinics to synergize the handling of patients and transition to the UAE-based entity should they choose to.
Medical experts and pundits told the Star that the framework was long overdue so that Kenyans already bogged down by health challenges do not have to stress themselves about how to link up with and reach credible medical outlets abroad to research the crucial care they need.
Kings College Hospital London Dubai team led by CEO Kimberley Ann Pierce, visited various local private hospitals in Mombasa and Nairobi to explore and establish partnerships in areas of specialised healthcare, with the ultimate goal of ensuring a seamless patient journey.
The partnership is focused on niche-based care areas that are not available in the country in the form of surgeries and advisory while ensuring a seamless patient journey yet keeping pre-care and post-care in Kenya.
The 100-plus-bed Kings College Hospital London Dubai boasts ofover 180 years of specialized medical care to a wide range of patients numbered at over a million a year.
Apart from cost challenges, Kenyans seeking such specialized treatments have to contend with many other obstacles such as travel logistics (visas) need and other elements necessary for successful treatment, particularly pre and post care which require spending excess time abroad: these elements make the much needed specialised care beyond the reach of many.
“The partnership(s) to be established have far-reaching implications not only in cost management but assuring quality in specialised healthcare provision with assurances in pre and post-care provided by the partner hospitals and doctors,” the hospital's team said.
Lifecare International CEO Alniz Popat, the lead interlocutor in the international hospital’s endeavours, says that “beyond enabling access to quality and specialised healthcare, we share a duty of care with King’s College Hospital, and our mission is to always go above and beyond to ensure a seamless patient journey".
"We work extensively with KCHLD in the UAE and believe exploring these synergies with industry stakeholders will be mutually beneficial, as we envision a situation where our clients only need to fly out for specialised treatment, but still receive the best care while in the country.”
In another stakeholder engagement event held in Nairobi and attended by patients, specialist doctors and potential partner institution representatives, King's college hospital CEO Kimberley Ann Pierce said the framework envisaged would engage Kenyan doctors and specialist physicians in being the primary port of call for the patients and only link up in case complex attention is needed but not available locally.
“KCHLD is looking at partnerships and we want to keep the primary physician in Kenya involved in the patient’s treatment pathway. We also want to involve the physician in the multidisciplinary meetings with KCHLD Doctors, which ensures that the patient is getting the best possible treatment plan individualised to them. The patient will receive treatment at KCHL in Dubai from our UK-trained Doctors. We will manage the patient until they are well enough to return to Kenya. The patient can then be handed over to the primary physician in Kenya for follow-up care,” he said.
The collaboration will bring together leading healthcare providers from Kings College Hospital London Dubai and its Kenyan partners- each with a unique set of strengths that complement the other in the holistic provision of much-needed specialised care, he added.
“KCHLD is committed to providing compassionate and personalized care to every patient, ensuring the consistency and continuity of treatment by working closely with the primary doctor in Kenya.”