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Public can rate health services through civic tool kit

Nyeri residents will now be able to rate the health of government hospitals after the county government, together with the Alliance Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA), rolled out a civic tool kit that will allow members of the public to give their views about the health services.

Through the tool kit, which has been christened the Community Score Card, patients visiting health facilities can now score hospitals in nine key areas, among them the time taken to receive services, the availability of medicine and diagnostic services, and customer satisfaction of services covered by the National Hospital Insurance Fund.

They will also grade the levels of cleanliness of the health centre, the facility’s emergency responsiveness, and the frequency of home visits made by community health volunteers, among other areas.

Feedback collected through the kit will then be presented to the hospital’s management on a quarterly basis. The management will, in turn, develop an action plan to address the concerns raised by the patients.

According to ALMA’s Robert Ndieka, the main aim of the tool kit is to help the different cadres of public health facilities in the counties improve the quality of their services.

He added that the initiative has already been rolled out in 10 other counties with the view of holding public officers accountable for health resources and efficient service delivery.

“The alliance is conscious of the importance of feedback in health service delivery and has facilitated the process in 10 counties. We believe that health services can only improve if we listen to the issues raised by the people that we are serving and improve the quality of the services that we are offering. By doing so, both the health service providers and the community can come up with solutions in the areas that need improvement,” said Mr Ndieka.

Ms Ann Nduta, the Nyeri County community health coordinator, said that the initiative will focus on the level IV and level V facilities, which attend to the bulk of patients in the county.

Nduta said that the tool will be a gateway for the county health department to identify issues of concern for patients.

She said that the Community Score Card will be rolled out in the Nyeri County Referral Hospital, Mukurwe-ini level IV hospital, Mount Kenya hospital in Nyeri town, Othaya level IV hospital, and Karatina sub-county hospital in Mathira.

“We will be collecting views from five facilities. As service providers, the tool will help us to see the facilities in the eyes of our patients, expose the community’s areas of complaint, and therefore help the department improve on the areas highlighted,” she said.

Speaking during the launch, Francis Kimani, a Nyeri town resident, lauded the county for launching the initiative.

He said that the kit would give many patients an opportunity to take part in the continuous improvement of the services they receive from the health department.

“Previously, I would switch hospitals whenever I felt dissatisfied with the services. This engagement has given me an opportunity as a customer of the health facility to interact directly with the hospital management, and I also get a chance to give them feedback about the quality of services being rendered and what I want improved,” he said.

By Wangari Mwangi

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