The County government of Nakuru has fully adopted automated revenue collection technology in over 95 percent of public health facilities to enhance service delivery and accountability.
County Executive Committee Member for Health Dr Zachary Gichuki said the automation had led to an increase in revenue collected from public health facilities in the past three years from Sh405 million to Sh957 million.
He said that part of the Sh40 million set aside for the upgrade of Elburgon Nyayo Ward Hospital was now being used to automate revenue collection at the facility commissioned by the late President Daniel Moi in 1997.
Speaking when his department delivered 500 bed sheets, blankets and curtains at the facility Dr Gichuki said construction of the first phase of the 150-bed modern maternity wing at the facility will be completed mid this year.
“The ultra-modern facility will have a theatre to offer quality essential and emergency care to mothers and babies. We are in the process of recruiting 380 health workers and specialists to be deployed to various public health facilities across the County. The devolved unit has set aside Sh1 billion to equip health facilities with diagnostic equipment and upgrade their infrastructure,” said Dr Gichuki.
Through the automated system, patients deposit payment for bills for medical services through bank agents and M-Pesa and are issued with receipts.
“This modern form of transaction besides eliminating handling of hard cash enables us to track the number of patients receiving medical services, the ailments afflicting them and diagnosis and treatment made by health practitioners,” explained the CEC.
He said the County’s Health Department had also put in place an efficient audit and accounting system that will track how the distributed drugs and supplies procured from the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (KEMSA) are used.
Chief Officer for Public Health Mr Samuel King’ori said the Department of Health is in the process of procuring essential equipment to enable Elburgon Nyayo Ward Hospital to conduct cesarean sections.
“We have also ordered for automatic heavy-duty hospital washing machines to ensure that the facility maintains the highest possible level of cleanliness.
Nakuru allocated 32 per cent, amounting to Sh6.3 billion, of its total budget to healthcare financing in the 2019/20 financial year. We are committed to using part of the funds to upgrade health facilities across the County to ease congestion at the Nakuru Level 5 Hospital,” noted Mr King’ori.
Dr Gichuki said the upgrade works were on-going at the Nakuru Referral and Teaching Hospital, Naivasha and Molo Sub-County hospitals at a cost of Sh600 million, Sh300 million and Sh100 million respectively.
Other facilities targeted for infrastructure uplift and equipment are Gilgil Mental Hospital and Elburgon Sub County hospitals with each being allocated Sh40 million.
He said the County’s Health Department was focusing on preventive health care to ease the disease burden through detecting and managing health complications before they advance.
Dr Gichuki said the second phase of public health facilities upgrade will cover Subukia and Bahati Sub-County Hospitals.
The County Executive Committee Member further said that the Cabinet approved a proposal to upgrade Gilgil Hospital to be a satellite of Mathari National Teaching and Referral Hospital which he described as a critical milestone in the journey towards improving mental healthcare.
“Gilgil Hospital is the only one in the country besides Mathari Hospital that offers services to mentally disturbed patients. Unlike Mathari, Gilgil was not receiving grants from the Treasury.
The move by the Cabinet will ease the financial burden and enable expansion of the hospital. The mental section at Gilgil Hospital has been operating since 1965 and caters for 87 Male and Female patients. Some of the patients have been abandoned by their families and were transferred to the facility from Mathari,” explained Dr Gichuki.
He noted that part of the funds will be used to set up a modern fully fledged and operational theatre at the Gilgil hospital.
At the Nakuru Teaching and Referral Hospital, upgrade works include setting up a modern radiotherapy unit and an outpatient complex. Due to the high number of accident casualties on the Nakuru-Naivasha Highway, the County was setting up a fully operational theatre facility at Naivasha Sub-County Hospital, added Dr. Gichuki.
By Anne Mwale