NAIROBI, Kenya July 24 – The Ministry of Health has denied reports that government hospitals are charging for COVID-19 treatment.
Health Chief Administrative Secretary Dr Mercy Mwangangi told a news conference on Friday that the government’s position was clear that COVID-19 patients will not be charged in public health facilities.
“We maintain that COVID-19 treatment in public facilities is being handled by those public facilities and there are no costs attributable to that,” she said even as patients in various public hospitals said they had been billed as much as Sh70,000 for treatment.
She emphasized that the zero costing in public facilities was necessitated by the need by the government to counter the stigmatization element that shrouded patients who had contracted the virus and sought admission in public hospitals.
“We had to remove this cost implication so as people can feel free and ready to receive care when they need it,” she said, and dismissed reports that hospitals around the country were full.
Kenya’s COVID-19 caseload rose to 16,268 after 667 new infections were recorded on Friday.
Mwangangi said the cases were detected from 5,075 samples tested since Thursday.
“We have recorded 667 new cases and this raises the total infections in the country to 16,268,” she said.
She also announced 11 more deaths, raising the country’s fatality from the virus to 274.
“We are also delighted to announce that 145 patients have been discharged from hospital after recovering from COVID-19,” she said, “we also cleared 166 who were on home-based care.”
On Thursday, Dr Mwangangi warned that the country is drawing closer to the peak of infections projected to start in August, even as the country prepares to open her airspace to international passengers.
The country has been implementing a night curfew for the past three months until August 6, when President Uhuru Kenyatta will issue new restrictions.