RUNDOWN FACILITIES

NHIF must save public hospitals

In Summary
  • A large number of hospitals rely on the insurance cash.
  • But now the NHIF seems to be compounding the challenges that public hospitals have to contend with.
NHIF Building.
NHIF Building.
Image: NHIF

Our public hospitals are literally in ICU. They are neglected, understaffed and hardly have equipment that works. That’s where the bureaucratic fat cats expect patients without the cash for private treatment to seek medical attention.

The media is replete with cases of patients who have been made to wait for ages to see a doctor. Patients have had to wait for 24 hours in an ambulance, yet they are in an emergency, to find a bed at a referral hospital.

Only weeks ago, a young boy of three died a horrible death when a fork-hoe fell and hit his head. His poor tearful mother told of the horror of getting help first at a chemist.

Her next step was at Thika Level Five, a referral hospital in its own right. But Thika does not have a neurosurgeon, the type of expert needed to handle such a complex case. By the time the poor little boy got to Kenyatta National Hospital, it was probably too late.

The hospitals do not have enough doctors, clinical officers and nurses.

And to compound the systemic challenges that bedevil public hospitals, it transpires that the National Hospital Insurance Fund does not remit cash to public hospitals on time.

A large number of hospitals rely on the insurance cash. But now the NHIF seems to be compounding the challenges that public hospitals have to contend with.

The NHIF must move with speed and clear the huge arrears because millions of patients, the majority of who have no private insurance cover, rely on the 4,000 public hospitals for survival.

Quote of the Day: “What do we live for, if not to make life less difficult for each other?”

Mary Ann Evans-George Eliot

The English author was born on November 22, 1819

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