The County Government of Kiambu has embarked on an ambitious program to redeem the health sector that has for years embarrassed the regional government due to poor infrastructure, faulty equipment, unnecessary delays of services, acute shortage of drugs and congestion which has been worsened by malpractice of a fraction of health workers.
From launching of a Sh100 million-universal healthcare program (UHC), expansion, rehabilitation and equipping health facilities, stocking of drugs and non-pharmaceutical suppliers, and reorganising hospital boards, to installation of a healthcare management system, the county’s fourth regime hopes to restore public health sector’s confidence.
Governor Kimani Wamatangi has also put on notice, healthcare workers in public facilities, a section of whom he has fingered for malpractice after preliminary investigations revealed some own private clinics or colludes with to divert drugs meant for public hospitals, which have for years hit the headlines due to poor service delivery despite the health docket getting annual budget of Sh4 billion.
“We cannot lie to ourselves that our health sector has been good. But we will transform it and ensure it’s the best in service delivery just like it happens in private hospitals. All our major facilities and dispensaries must have good infrastructure which we have already started, the needed equipment, drugs and specialists as well as proper monitoring system for effective management. We cannot have a situation where people have to wait for hours before being denied services ,” Mr Wamatangi said, adding that the program also entails improving working conditions and motivating workers.
To enhance efficiency in monitoring of operations in our hospitals to ensure exceptional services, the governor is installing CCTV cameras in all facilities to cure the rampant diversion of medical drugs, and ensuring personnel dedicate their time and focus to patients who have continuously protested poor services.
After a successful survey, Governor Wamatangi has announced the instillation in all Level Five, Level Four and Level Three hospitals, among them Thika, Kiambu, Gatundu, Kihara, Ruiru, Lari, Igegania, Githunguri, Tigoni, Wangige, Karatu, Karuri, Lusigett, Kigumo, Githurai Langata, Gachororo, Nyathuna, Ngoliba and Kiandutu hospitals.
“The security cameras will keep an eye on entrances and exits, elevators, stairwells, pharmacies, stores, waiting and front service areas and corridors, keeping track of daily activities and foot traffic among patients, medical staff, and visitors with a view to improving productivity,” he said.
Mr Wamatangi who has intensified impromptu visit in public hospitals as part of his efforts to force change in running of the affairs, said his administration, which has been in office for about four months now, is installing a health management system to ensure accountability, and already, the tendering process is underway, adding that all hospitals in the county will be installed with security surveillance cameras.
Further, the county, according to the governor, is partnering with donor international organizations and National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) in the ongoing establishment of a universal healthcare program, which he said was one of which campaign promises, to put at least one million people in a health insurance scheme to ensure the access to quality healthcare care.
Presently, data obtained by “Nation” from the health services department shows byWednesday evening, which is less that two months since the launch of the exercise, county has so far registered approximately 100, 000 families, majority of who are from the bottom of the pyramid and according to Mr Wamatangi, the exercice end in March or mid-April when the data will be consolidated and linked to an insurance scheme.
Speaking at Ngecha, Limuru Sub-County on Wednesday when he toured the UHC registration centers for monitoring, Mr Wamatangi said after the ongoing mass registration he said will end in March, the data will be consolidated and together with the donors, will put at least one million people in a health insurance scheme.
“Once we are done with registration, I will consolidate all the data of registered families, and in partnership with organizations that I have already approached, I will ensure Kiambu County will become the first county in the country to realise a true Universal Health Coverage program,” the county boss said.
To ensure that the UHC program succeeds, the governor announced that his administration is improving all its facilities in order to be ready for any needed services.
Presently, works have resumed in Wangige, Thogoto, Bibirioni hospitals whose construction had stalled due non-payment of bills by the previous administration, as we as a drugs and non-pharmaceuticals store in Ruiru following payment of pending bills by the current governor, with the Ruiru facility expected to serve as central store for all the 123 health facilities in the county.
County Executive Committee Member in charge of health services Dr Allan Maina, the store, which is 95 percent complete, will be installed with a management system that will also be linked to all facilities in the county for proper management and efficient monitoring of service delivery by among other things ensure all health facilities will be re-stocked with the click of a button.
In December last year, Mr Wamatangi flagged off trucks loaded with drugs and non-pharmaceutical supplies worth Sh60 million which were disbursed to the county hospitals, although the governor has decried that part of his was diverted.
Presently, the county administration is undertaking a second round of disbursements, with the county chief firing warnings to medical practitioners that any of them who intends to use the supply for commercial purposes should quit and engage in private business or bear the consequences, a move that has already read sparked protests among a section of health officials but the governor has insisted that reforms must take place.