Badi: Stay away from KNH if you’re not referred case

Thursday, May 13th, 2021 00:00 |
Kenyatta National Hospital. Photo/PD/File

Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) will not accept walk-in patients from July and only attend to referral cases.

Patients without referrals will have to seek medical services at 24 health facilities set to be opened in various centres in Nairobi by July.  

Making the announcement yesterday, Director-General of Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) Mohammed Badi said the decision is part of plans by the Ministry of Health to review the hospital’s referral policy.

“The government has reviewed the strategy of the referral system currently in place and as a county, we will be the first to implement it.

As NMS, we want city residents to seek services at the 24 facilities that will open by July,” he said.

Core mandate

He added; “Here at NMS, we work with timelines and we expect that within the coming three weeks, his Excellency the President will commission six more facilities.

By July, I can assure you that all the facilities will be complete and we will attend to all our patients”.

People Daily learnt that the decision to have KNH, the country’s largest referral facility, stop attending to walk-in patients, also referred to as out-patients, was arrived at during a high-level meeting held in Naivasha two weeks ago and attended by officials of the NMS, Ministry of Health and KNH.

“There was a meeting in Naivasha two weeks ago bringing together the ministry, NMS and KNH where the issue was discussed. You also remember the President has reiterated the need for KNH to revert to its core mandate of a referral hospital,” said a senior KNH official who sought anonymity because he is not authorised to speak on behalf of the hospital. 

NMS Director of Health, Dr Ouma Oluga, said they have already equipped Mama Lucy Hospital with 43 specialists to handle most of the critical cases being currently taken to KNH.

Small facilities

At the same time, Oluga said Mama Lucy will be upgraded from a Level Four to Level Five hospital.

The upgrade will see the number of beds increased from the current 112 to 120. The facility will also have an 18-bed Intensive Care Unit.

“So far, our referral rate to KNH stands at 34 per cent but we intend to have this rate reduced to one per cent once this facility has been upgraded,” he said.

Statistics from MoH indicate that KNH handles over 1,000 out-patient cases daily, which can be handled by small facilities across the country.

Four out of the planned 24 facilities are already up and running and over 16,000 patients have been attended so far.

Facilities that have been completed are located in Uthiru, Kiamaiko, Ushirika and Soweto-Kayole. Another 10 of the 24 new facilities are Level Two while the rest are Level Three.

Last December, President Uhuru Kenyatta said the Sh2 billion project aimed at increasing Nairobi’s bed capacity in the informal settlement by 280 beds will be ready by the start of February.

The project includes rehabilitation of five health facilities across the capital at a cost of Sh300 million as well as the construction of 19 new hospitals at an average cost of Sh70 million each.

  Badi said the new facilities have ensured that patients who walk into KNH for inpatient services reduce by about 47 per cent as the new ones are easily accessible, affordable and offer quality health care services.

 “A total of 47 per cent of walk-in patients at KNH are drawn from Nairobi and by creating accessible, affordable and quality healthcare services in informal settlements through these new hospitals, we intend to reduce the number significantly,” he said.

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