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KNH to stop offering outpatient treatment

By ELIZABETH MERAB

The Kenyatta National Hospital will stop offering outpatient services in two years if county hospitals improve their services, Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu has said.

Dr Mailu said this would decongest the country’s largest hospital and enable it to handle inpatient and referral cases efficiently.

“We expect that in the next one to two years, KNH will cease to offer outpatient services, but this is subject to review depending on whether county hospitals will be operating as per our expectations,” Dr Mailu said on Tuesday.

The CS held a meeting with Nairobi County government officials to devise a plan that would see satellite hospitals upgraded.

“We want to improve the quality of services being offered in hospitals. We also intend to include inpatient services in the said hospitals, thereby creating space for referral cases at KNH,” he said.

“Different hospitals have different needs, but the main ones are lack of human resources, availability of medical supplies and renovation.”

UPGRADED

He said in six months, the Health ministry would have upgraded the hospitals and services offered.

Dr Mailu said most of the patients at KNH were from Nairobi.

“Instead of seeking services from other hospitals, they go to KNH directly,” he said.

KNH has the highest number of consultations — about 8.69 million every year — both outpatient and inpatient cases.

“To make changes at the KNH, we must do something to the hospitals in the city by providing alternatives to the residents,” Dr Mailu said when he met a team from Governor Evans Kidero’s office.

However, City Hall officials said the devolved government was not to blame for congestion at KNH because Nairobi did not have a referral hospital before devolution.

MOBILE CLINIC

“We did not have Level Five or Six hospitals like other counties before the new Constitution was promulgated and we are elevating Mama Lucy and Mbagathi to referral status,” County Health Executive Bernard Muia said.

During the talks, Dr Mailu said the national government would launch a mobile clinic plan in slums to reduce congestion at KNH.

In October 2015, a patient — Alex Madaga — was kept waiting in an ambulance for 18 hours because the hospital could not find a bed in its ICU ward.

When he was medical services minister, Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o promised to ease congestion at KNH. Nothing much happened to that effect.

Welcoming the proposal, KNH Chief Executive Officer Lily Koros said it would enable the hospital to concentrate on its main mandate.

“We have been asking for decongestion of the hospital for a long time. This is welcome,” Dr Koros said.