Some 800 clinics face closure over poor standards
By Eric Wainaina and George Kebaso
More than 800 health facilities across the country face closure for offering poor services and operating below the minimum standards for licensing.
Some of the institutions, both private and public, have been given time to improve their facilities while others have already been ordered to close until they meet the required standards.
Health ministry director general John Wekesa said the drastic move comes after an inspection of 6,019 health facilities between February and August flagged down 811 of them for reasons ranging from poor services, inadequate infrastructure and untrained or unregistered personnel.
Yesterday, Kenya Health Oversight Authority chief executive Dr Jackson Kioko said hundreds of facilities have already been shut down, adding that they are targeting 5,649 for inspection in the fourth phase.
“We want to ensure that the facilities are operating within minimum required standards, both in terms of service delivery, equipment, personnel and infrastructure. For example, if a hospital has been placed at Level Two status, are the services that it is offering commensurate with that level?” he said.
Owners of the closed facilities were directed not to open them “until such a time they comply with the minimum standards and apply to the relevant regulatory bodies for re-inspection” while others were ordered to do improvements to ensure compliance.
According to Dr Wekesa’s notice dated October 8, and which was sent to all counties though the Council of Governors’ (COG) chairman and Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya and copied to the Interior ministry, Nairobi is leading with 178 health facilities mostly in the informal settlements, marked for closure.
Machakos and Mombasa counties follow closely with 97 and 87 respectively. Kiambu and Murang’a counties are fourth and fifth in the list with 75 and 72 respectively while Bungoma comes sixth with 42 facilities.
Kioko said some of the facilities, especially clinics which dominate the most trading centres, have been operating using unqualified personnel or are unregistered or unlicensed.
“What we are doing is positive and in line with the universal healthcare because we want to ensure Kenyans have information about the facilities they seek services from,” he added. The inspection led to the arrest of 36 personnel for being either unlicensed or unqualified.
The list was also copied to the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) to ensure the insurer doesn’t reimburse money for services offered in facilities that are in the ‘ministry’s list of shame’.
Currently, Dr Kioko said the ministry is cleaning the list of the 811 facilities that were flagged in order to categorise them according to which have been closed down and which have been directed to improve their standards and seek a re-inspection.
The list, he said will be out next week, but Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Council (KMPDC) management indicated that by October 5, a total of 245 facilities that had been flagged had complied with the required standards.
“A total of 254 (health) facilities of the 811 that had been closed, have since complied with minimum set standards and have been allowed to operate. The remaining 566 facilities are being considered on a case-to-case basis,” said KMPDC chief executive Daniel Yumbya.