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Senate invites Health CS to disclose status of public hospitals

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 18 – The Senate Health Committee has invited Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki to appear before it this Thursday, to shed light on the status of the country’s referral public hospital following the Pumwani incident where 12 bodies of dead infants were found stashed in a polythene bag.

Committee Chairman Michael Mbito described Monday’s shocking findings at the hospital which were made during an impromptu visit by Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko as disturbing, while giving assurances that the committee will get to the bottom of the matter.

“It is very sad that such an institution that has been in place for so many years could have such shameful things happening. As the Senate we have become so concerned and we intend to find out more on why such things can happen,” he said.

The Trans Nzoia Senator who spoke at Parliament buildings on Tuesday tasked the Health CS to table a comprehensive report on Thursday on the progress on the Managed Equipment Service amid reports that Pumwani Hospital does not have essential basic facilities like a morgue.

“Part of the reason why some of the taxes are being increased in this country is because of such monies we are paying for equipment which some of us in the counties are not seeing. We want the Cabinet Secretary to come and explain which equipment the government is paying billions for,” he said.

According to the ministry, the Managed Equipment Service (MES) is one of the government’s Big Four Agenda items under giving access to affordable and quality healthcare.

Through the program, the government set aside billions of shillings to ensure that two hospitals in each county and four national referral hospitals are equipped with outsourced specialized state-of-the-art medical equipment.

The aim of the project is to provide Kenyans with excellent uninterrupted health services regardless of their location in the country.

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Under the MES arrangement, equipment manufacturers were outsourced to supply, install, train users, and provide maintenance, repair and replacement services for the specialized medical equipment for the duration of the MES contract.

Part of the equipment to be supplied to hospitals under this program include theatre equipment, sterilization equipment and theatre instruments, renal dialysis equipment, Intensive Care Unit (ICU) equipment among others.

On his part, the Committee’s Vice Chair Ibrahim Ali cautioned Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko not to politicize the issue and instead offer better medical services to city residents, sentiments which were echoed by nominated Senator Naomi Shiyonga.

“The governor should not play politics with us because how does he go running up and down claiming that he discovered the bodies? where was he the last five years when he was a Senator… didn’t he know these things were happening? he questioned.

Shiyonga said suspending the hospital’s board of management is not a long-term solution and challenged Governor Sonko to look for better ways on how health services can be improved in the city.

“Governor Sonko should provide leadership and stop the theatrics,” she said.

The Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti is expected to issue a report in the next seven days after the Director of Public Prosecutions ordered for the investigation.

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