It was all joy for 64 patients detained at Nakuru level 5 hospital after Nakuru Governor Susan Kihika granted them a waiver of a total of Sh5Million of unpaid bills they owned the Hospital .
This comes even as it emerged that most of the bills had been pending for years, some dating back to March 2020 when Covid-19 pandemic broke out in the country.
Governor Kihika said she had met the hospital’s board of management and after consultations recommended the waiver of the accrued bills.
She said her administration would allocate the hospital more funds to cover for the waiver, saying its operations will not be frustrated by the unsettled bills.
Speaking at the hospital during a fact-finding tour of various health-care facilities within the devolved unit, Ms Kihika directed the Department of Health to release the patients aged between 7 and 80 years and who had been discharged but were unable to settle their bills due to financial constraints.
She also ordered that all bodies detained at the mortuary due to pending bills be released to next of kin with immediate effect.
The governor reiterated her plans to upgrade all sub-county hospitals to level five hospitals with adequate bed capacity in all wards to facilitate smooth delivery of health service to all.
“We will ensure no sharing of beds in all health facilities including maternity wings,” assured Kihika.
She said her government was keen to develop a level 4 hospital in Nakuru to offer dedicated services to all public servants (both county and national), the disciplined forces, national administration and community health workers courtesy of public-private partnership.
The county she added will work with NHIF and other private insurance firms to ensure there will be no out-of-pocket expenses when services are sought at the hospital.
Ms Kihika said her administration was committed to enhancing order and proper functionality of all public healthcare facilities in the County by improving terms of employment and working conditions of health workers across all cadres.
She pledged to work with the national government to ensure universal health access through the Nakuru Medicare card and universal access to National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) cover with the aim of eliminating out of pocket expenditure for all citizens in Nakuru, as a short term measure.
At the same time, the governor undertook to ensure that all persons aged over 65 years, Persons with Disabilities and orphans are registered to facilitate free access of health services in public health facilities.
On recruitment of health workers, Kihika promised to recruit more nurses, clinical officers and doctors to boost health service delivery in the county adding that the health sector is the most critical aspect of life which her administration will give more focus to.
She assured residents that she will spearhead establishment of a training fund that will be accessible to all health workers seeking to pursue higher diplomas, degrees, and masters specialisation programmes in a move aimed at improving the quality of health care services.
She assured of constant availability of drugs in the county hospitals adding that the county will provide an adequate budget for the procurement of drugs and essential medical supplies and also prioritise completion and equipping of all stalled health projects.
While acknowledging that good health goes hand in hand with food security, Kihika revealed that she intends to organise into support groups all patients with non-communicable ailments such as diabetes, hypertension, kidney failure and cancer to enhance service delivery and streamline access to drugs and care.
She said the County will deploy a robust ICT system to manage patients in health facilities, drugs and essential medical supplies and ensure transparency in resource utilisation in addition to collaborating with the National Authority for the Campaign against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA), to curb illicit brews and eliminate drug and substance abuse and also provide rehabilitation centres for addicts.
By Esther Mwangi and Waweru Mwangi