Machakos Governor Dr. Alfred Mutua has ordered the closure of all private facilities operating near public hospitals.
Dr. Mutua made the announcement Monday during a raid at private laboratories and dispensing chemists adjacent to the Machakos level 5 hospital.
During the incident which took many of the operators by surprise, the governor also revoked the licenses of a number of laboratories which he said had defied earlier orders to close shop when the county authorities made a similar raid in the area.
“Today, I have gone back to the same area I raided four months ago and shut down the now illegally operating businesses. We have arrested those working in the premises so that we can flush out their masters of impunity. My Government has also from today revoked the business permits of all clinics, pharmacies, laboratories and such providers who are located close to any Government health facility, based on the size of a town,” he said.
The governor also warned entrepreneurs they risk losing out their business unless they adhered to the laid down by- laws of his government.
He claimed that in many areas residents were suffering as a result of unscrupulous businessmen colluding with government officials who move vital drugs and equipment from public hospitals to private clinics.
He directed his CEC in charge of health Dr. Ancent Kituku to immediately issue guidelines in regard to the recommended distances to be observed between private health facilities and public hospitals.
“My minister for Health will issue guidelines on the set distances per village size and town. All future business permits will be pegged on the licenses,” he added.
This is not the first time Dr. Mutua is making a raid on private health facilities in a bid to weed out unscrupulous traders who he blame for conniving with government health workers to steal essential GK drugs.
On February 7 this year, four people were arrested in Machakos after the county authorities launched an impromptu raid on dispensing chemists suspected of selling government drugs.
The crackdown also unearthed a well-coordinated syndicate in which rogue hospital staff colluded with owners of private clinics to transfer essential drugs and lab equipment from the government hospitals before they are sold to desperate patients at prohibitive prices.
Dr. Mutua who led the raid accompanied by area DCIO Rhoda Kanyi warned those engaging in the vice that they will have to pay dearly once investigations into the damning scam were completed. The matter is still in court.
Among private clinics that were raided in the swoop include Lugpharm and Metropolis Medical Laboratory which are located just a stone’s throw from the Machakos Level 5 main gate.
On March 14, 2019, while commissioning a new theatre at Matuu Level 4 hospital, Dr. Mutua directed that as per the law and regulations, there should not be a private clinic, lab, pharmacy and such health providers within 300 meters of a Machakos Government health facility.
He also gave those who had breached the regulation up to the end of last month to relocate or risk losing their operating license.
By Samuel Maina