Homa Bay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga has drafted a new bill seeking to have at least one national referral hospital in each of the country’s 47 counties.
The National Referral Health Facilities Bill, 2020, which will be introduced in the National Assembly this month, also recommends that all the current level five hospitals in the country be upgraded to referral facilities.
“The Bill generally aims at improving the management of the referral health facilities and also enhancing the healthcare facilities in the country,” reads the bill in part.
At the moment, Kenya has only six referral hospitals namely; Kenyatta University Teaching and Referral Hospital, Kenyatta National Hospital, Moi Teaching, and Referral Hospital, Mathari National Teaching and Referral Hospital, Othaya Teaching and Referral Hospital, and National Spinal Injury Referral Hospital. In addition, the country has 11 level five hospitals.
The Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) estimates that Sh236 billion will be spent on building 47 referral hospitals in each of the 47 counties if the bill is approved.
In her proposal, Wanga also wants the national government to disburse money directly to the referral hospitals’ accounts instead of to the county governments’ accounts.
She argues that the bill will ease the burden on Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH), leading to improved health services in the counties.
“There is a need to bring specialized services at the county level so that people reduce the countless trips they make to KNH seeking treatment.”
“Why should our people go to India for minor operations and surgeries which can be done locally? These are the issues the Bill will cure is passed into law,” Wanga added.