NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 5 – Medical Services Minister Anyang’ Nyong’o has challenged the new Chief Executive Officer of the Kenyatta National Hospital(KNH) to ensure decentralisation of their services by opening clinics across the country.
Professor Nyong’o said on Friday that this would ease congestion at the facility which is the largest referral hospital in East and Central Africa.
“If Gertrude’s (children’s hospital) can have branches in Lavington, Buruburu and other areas, what stops Kenyatta from hiving off these services there so that they are nearer to the people and we can create space here to reduce traffic to this hospital?” he posed.
The Minister urged the hospital to continue partnership with the National Hospital Insurance Fund to ease lack of funds for health care financing by advocating for more Kenyans to register with the fund.
“There is need to advocate for more Kenyans to register with NHIF in order to benefit from the comprehensive cover,” the minister said.
“When we have these IPO’s (Initial Public Offers), Kenyans subscribe in the billions and these include people in the informal sector. If you can in just one week raise so much money, why can’t we invest in our own health?” he asked.
Professor Nyong’o was speaking during the official handing over to the newly appointed Chief Executive Officer Richard Lesiyampe where he also said that KNH could triple its revenue by adopting ICT.
The new CEO promised to improve the quality of service delivery at the hospital by demonstrating servant leadership that would unlock the great potential the hospital has.
“I will attempt to provide every employee the opportunity and environment that is conducive for them to unleash their potential so as to realise the KNH vision as well as the vision 2030,” Mr Lesiyampe pledged.
“My focus will be to insulate doctors and nursing teams from routine administrative operations in order to allow them give their best in their areas of specialisation,” he added.
He stated that his main task would be to improve the hospital’s systems as well as adopt appropriate technologies to run it.
Mr Lesiyampe took over from Dr Charles Kabetu who had been the acting CEO since October last year following the expiry of Dr Jotham Micheni’s four year term.
“We have gone through many challenges and one of them is our structure as Kenyatta where everything is centralised and I think if we are able to devolve the way we are devolving the government, we are going to run a very good outfit whereby all of us feel we are responsible for what is being done,” Dr Kabetu said.
He noted that people’s expectations were also a challenge whereby some wanted to walk in and out of the hospital without paying.
Director of Medical Services Dr Francis Kimani took the opportunity to urge health workers especially doctors to do their work diligently.
“We know we have deficiencies but if we can only give eight hours, the patients will sing Hallelujah,” he said.
“The government has sponsored all of us here to serve the poor; the rich can take care of themselves. So please my dear colleagues, I would like all of you to live a long life, I don’t want you to retire and become a cabbage because you did not serve Jesus (poor people) when He came to Kenyatta, you served somebody else in Nairobi hospital,” Dr Kimani added.
Mr Lesiyampe who was the Deputy Director Finance and Administration, at the Kenya Wildlife Service is a management specialist who holds an MBA in Strategic Management from University of Nairobi and is currently pursuing a PhD at Kenya Methodist University.
The hospital at the same time is seeking additional financial support from the government to assist it in its operations.
Board Chairperson Margaret Wanjohi said the hospital was currently facing a huge financial deficit due to provision of credit services to patients who were unable to clear their bills.
“There is need for the government to identify health care financing of these particular groups in order to provide the desired and expected service to all Kenyans who come here and to provide appropriate remuneration to the employees who spend days in and days out in this institution,” she said.