, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 3 – The Ministry of Medical Services plans to transform Provincial and District Hospitals to become autonomous institutions to increase their efficiency in offering improved health services to Kenyans.
Speaking during the launch of a Sh3.3 billion initiative to train health workers dubbed Funzo Kenya Project, Medical Services Minister Anyang Nyong’o said professionals will be hired to run these hospitals.
He stated that this will leave the ministry with a lighter load of formulating and developing regulations and policy.
“This will help us also in streamlining the national referral system. For instance when we were young, you could not come to Kenyatta National Hospital just like that; you had to be referred,” he said.
“In the breakdown of the medical services delivery particularly in the 80s, the referral system broke down so we want to re-engineer it so that it works properly.”
He further said that in the program, medical superintendents will be competitively appointed as opposed to a nomination process which saw one getting employed by his peers.
“If, for example, you are faced with the issue of managing Awendo Sub-District Hospital you look for a doctor who is there and tell them, ‘madam or sir, please become the Superintendent,'” he explained.
“The fellow may not have been in a classroom where management and administration is taught so you are actually giving him responsibility they are not prepared for,” he stated.
He stressed that this will enable those with specific skills to focus on the areas of their expertise.
“You find qualified people taking their time and their skills managing these hospitals when they should be doing clinical work and then we hold them accountable for financial management. We want to make sure there is equal distribution of labour,” he said.
He, in the meantime, stated that the Funzo Kenya Project will go a long way in helping Kenya achieve its health goals as envisaged in Vision 2030.
“I do believe that some of the initiatives we are taking with USAID aims at improving on the achievement we have so far had because the health status of many Kenyans is very vulnerable,” he stated.
US Ambassador Scott Gration observed that the five-year USAID funded project, is aimed at strengthening health worker training and support activities aimed at improving their skills at pre-service and in-service level.
He said key interventions will include improving the admission capacity of the training institutions, scholarships and loans for students from needy regions and the use of IT in course delivery.
“We are also working on a national human resource information system within the ministries to help them improve the strategic personnel planning as we help establish sustainable and modern training systems that are better equipped to meet the health demands,” he stated.
The Medical Services Minister also called on the trade union movement in the country to stop constant agitation over the new National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) rates.
He said condemnation of the new rates is undermining the quest to provide better healthcare to Kenyans.
The minister said it would be imprudent to expect the government to provide comprehensive healthcare against the backdrop of increased disease burden including the rise in cases of non communicable diseases like cancer.