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Health Ministry fast-tracks handing over of Mwai Kibaki Referral Hospital

Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha has said a special ministerial committee will be set up to oversee the transition of the Mwai Kibaki Hospital from the stewardship of the Kenyatta National Hospital to an independent Level VI facility.

The CS said that the committee will be responsible for among things, advising the ministry on the recruitment of the healthcare personnel who will work in the 300 bed-capacity facility situated in Othaya constituency.

She said the team will also inform the process to be followed during the constitution of the hospital’s board as well as the equipment required to provide specialized care at the facility.

“We, together with the county leadership have agreed to put together a team that is going to give us the roadmap and the finer details of what we need to do to ensure that the hospital is able to operate as a Level VI hospital. In the next few years, the facility should be able to stand on its own as a referral hospital,” said Nakhumicha.

Construction of the Mwai Kibaki hospital started in 2010 at a cost of Sh1 billion. After its completion in 2019, the facility joined the leagues of Kenyatta National Hospital, Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (Uasin Gishu), Jaramogi Oginga Odinga (Kisumu) and Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospitals (Kisii) as one of the country’s level VI hospitals.

It was first named Othaya Level Six hospital before it was renamed to Kenyatta National Hospital, Othaya Annex. Following the death of Kenya’s third president in April 2022, the facility was renamed Mwai Kibaki Hospital in his honour.

The hospital has also played a part in decongesting the Kenyatta National Hospital, the country’s oldest referral hospital.

Mwai Kibaki hospital currently offers specialized treatment namely cardiology, neurology, urology, oral and maxillofacial surgery, oncology, trauma and orthopedic surgery among others for Nyeri residents and eight other counties that form the Mount Kenya region.

Despite being in operation for two years, the hospital is still relying on visiting specialists from KNH to offer some of the specialized services similar to those offered at KNH in Nairobi with Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga noting that the hospital was still at the incubation phase of the transition.

Nakhumicha also said that the ministry would initiate talks with the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) to ensure that NHIF cardholders access healthcare services from the facility. This follows complaints from residents and members of county assembly that the hospital which was expected to make access to premium medical care at close proximity was now charging high rates for medical services.

“We are also working with NHIF to cover those who have cards and when you go to the facility you will be taken care of. Residents should ensure they have the card which will make life easy for you,” said Nakhumicha.
Nakhumicha was speaking when she paid a courtesy call to Nyeri Governor, Mutahi Kahiga, on Monday to deliberate on the status of management of the Mwai Kibaki hospital.
The CS was accompanied by Nyeri Deputy Governor Warui Kinaniri, Nyeri Woman Representative Rahab Mukami, Othaya MP Wambugu Wainaina, Nyeri Town MP Duncan Maina, KNH Chief Executive Officer, Dr Evanson Kamuri, Nyeri Health CEC Robert Thuo, among a host of Nyeri MCAs from Othaya constituency.
By Wangari Mwangi and Daisy King’ori

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