Over 2,000 daily walk-in patients will be forced to seek health services elsewhere once Kenyatta National Hospital starts giving only referral services in July.
A policy change by the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) and the Ministry of Health is set to turn the largest hospital in Kenya into a fully-fledged referral only treatment centre.
“In conjunction with the Ministry of Health, we have been able to produce a policy document on referral system in Kenya. Nairobi County will be used as a guinea pig as the first county to implement this strategy to ensure that KNH becomes a teaching and referral hospital only,” said NMS Director-General Major Mohammed Badi.
KNH is the largest referral hospital in the country with a bed capacity of about 1,800 in 50 wards.
The hospital, which doubles up as a teaching centre, also runs 24 clinics, and 28 operating theaters, providing health services to over 2000 in-patients, and over 2,500 outpatients per day who seek treatment, including minor ailments.
President Uhuru Kenyatta recently said the ongoing construction of 24 new hospitals in Nairobi will make health services accessible and affordable.
“The public can now access health services without having to travel all the way to KNH. I am proud of the good work NMS Director-General Maj General Mohamed Badi and his team have done in building these facilities in remote areas within Nairobi,” he said.
The Sh2 billion new hospitals project began last August and is set to increase bed capacity and reduce daily footfall at the KNH where about 47 per cent of those who seek treatment in the facility are walk-ins according to the Nairobi regeneration report.
“We are working hard to ensure that all the hospitals in informal settlements and disadvantaged areas are completed by June 1 and are operational by the end of June because the deadline for closure of KNH to walk-in patients is the first week of July,” he said.
The new hospitals would also help reduce congestion at Mama Lucy Hospital which will be upgraded to a level five, Pumwani and Mbagathi hospitals.
“Procurement and tendering process for Mama Lucy Hospital’s expansion is already complete and soon the contract will be awarded to a contractor to build the extension. All these new developments will significantly reduce the number of patients rushing to KNH,” said the NMS boss.
President Uhuru has already commissioned four of the 24 new healthcare centres: Uthiru-Muthua level three hospital, as well as Kiamaiko, Soweto, and Ushirika level two health centres. Six more centers are expected to be launched in the coming week.