NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 8 – Kenyans might have to wait longer to know if the cost of treatment in public hospitals will be reduced as the National Assembly Committee initiated dialogue with medical practitioners on recently published fees.
This is after the National Assembly tasked the Health Committee to engage the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board (KMPDB) over the fees which were announced in May.
Endebess MP Robert Pukose, who is a trained surgeon and medical doctor by profession, said most MPs felt that the fees are too exorbitant for the ordinary Kenyan who will now be forced to seek medical services abroad.
“We have looked at the fees, and we don’t think that it is an accurate charge. We feel that amount will actually have the effect of pushing Kenyans to look for and acquire cheaper services from other countries. For instance, if you were to go for consultant review in any of the health facilities in Kenya, you will be charged around Sh4,000 or higher, but if you went to India for the same, you will pay Sh1,500. This is why we are saying that we are needlessly making the cost of treatment exorbitant,” he said.
Pukose said that the matter can no longer be ignored especially as the country is gearing up for the Universal Health Care pillar of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big 4 Agenda.
“We want these fees reviewed so that we can cushion the poor from high cost of treatment. We will be looking to strike a balance where by our hospitals will not be denied revenue while at some time, we don’t want it to look like we are a sector that milks Kenyans dry of their finances.”
In the published KMPDB fees guidelines, a practitioner is for instance supposed to charge between Sh1,500 to Sh5,000 for consultation fees and between Sh69,000 to Sh180,000 to get a Caesarian section among other services.
However, Kimilili MP Eseli Simiyu who is a member of the House Committee said the cost of medical care will only go down when public health facilities at the counties are properly run and funded.
“So long as you fail to sort out the mess in our public health facilities, it will be impossible for anyone to talk about a reduction of the cost of treatment; it will not work even if you introduced a capping of the fees to be charged.”
“People will simply troop to private facilities and referral hospitals, which will increase their fees because of the congestion occasioned by the demand of the services. But if the lion’s share of the monies which were sent down to the counties would be allocated to the health functions, I believe we would see them hire more qualified medical personnel, improve procurement of medicine and we would see the facilities being better managed,” he said.