NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 7 – A non-governmental organisation advocating the health rights of Kenyans has urged the government to ensure that they receive quality healthcare in the country’s facilities irrespective of their financial status.,
The Morris Moses Foundation (MMF), in partnership with the Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG), wants a 25 percent reduction in the number of patients who are treated and detained in public hospitals because of medical bills.
MMF Founder, Alice Mwongera, says the lobby group will raise enough funds through the Boresha Afya initiative to ensure that it achieves the 25 percent reduction.
“Potentially, we are all guests of the public hospitals because if you have a prolonged illness I can assures you that your insurance will not sustain you and you can not sustain treatment in a private hospital in this country from your pocket,” she said.
“So guess what happens when you run out of money?” she posed.
Speaking at a cocktail function to kick off the initiative, Government Chief Pathologist Moses Njue added that there was a need to train health attendants to become more sensitive to the needs of patients.
He noted that the needs of patients were sometimes ignored by the attendants simply because they were unable to raise the medical fees.
“MMF was born out of a very unfortunate medical incident about this gentleman who for about 40 days was at the Kenyatta National Hospital in a coma and at his death he was very wasted and had bed sores,” he said.
Ms Mwongera further explained that MMF would advocate for increased legislation and stronger policy frameworks to regulate medical practice in Kenya. She noted that this would reduce cases of medical abuse, misdiagnosis, negligence as well as other malpractices.
“That is why we have opted to reach out to both the public and private sector that are part and parcel of the reforms the country is pursuing under the new constitutional dispensation,” she observed.
She also urged other cooperate entities to join the MMF and push for better health care provision.
Intercontinental Nairobi General Manager Karl Hala said that the hotel partnered with MMF to give back to society and also support the push for better services for Kenyans.
“We are pleased to participate in this forum that is targeted to grow to a monthly public forum that will create awareness on patients’ rights and stimulate debate around Kenya’s public healthcare systems,” said Mr Hala.
MMF was established in 2009 and was inspired by the experience of the family and friends of the late Morris Moses Kiromo. Mr Kiromo was 29 when he unexpectedly fell ill in mid 2009 with what started as a flu before elapsing into a coma. He passed away in August the same year.
The foundation plans to hold regular forums that will create awareness on Kenya’s health rights. It also plans to work with medical students in colleges and universities to ensure they appreciate medicine as a vocation and not merely a source of income.
It will also start highlighting cases of medical abuse and injustice in public hospitals.