What you need to know:
- The Bill will be introduced for first reading later this month.
- Ms Wanga expressed optimism that it will be considered before the end of the year.
- There are level five hospitals in some counties.
Each of the 47 counties will have a national referral hospital if a legislative proposal set to be introduced in the National Assembly is passed.
The National Referral Health Facilities Bill, 2020, sponsored by Homa Bay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga, also seeks to upgrade all level five hospitals to referral status.
The Bill is set to be introduced for first reading later this month, with Ms Wanga expressing optimism that it will be considered before the end of the year.
“The Bill proposes the transformation of level five hospitals to national referral hospitals and having a referral facility in each county. The Bill also generally aims at improving the management of referral health facilities and also enhancing the healthcare facilities in the country,” reads the Bill.
Six national referral hospitals
Currently, the country has only six national referral hospitals namely Kenyatta University Teaching and Referral Hospital, Kenyatta National Hospital and Othaya Teaching and Referral Hospital.
Others are Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, Mathari National Teaching and Referral Hospital and the National Spinal Injury Referral Hospital
There are level five hospitals in some counties, including Meru, Embu, Garissa, Kakamega Kisii, Kisumu, Machakos, Mombasa, Nakuru and Nyeri.
The national government currently gives counties with referral hospitals a conditional grant of Sh4.3 billion. In the Bill, Ms Wanga wants the money to be channelled directly to the hospitals instead of counties.
Ms Wanga said that if the Bill is passed into law, it will reduce congestion at the Kenyatta National Hospital, which she said is overstretched with cases that can be handled at the county level.
“There is need to bring specialised services at the county level so that people reduce the countless trips to KNH,” Ms Wanga said.
If passed into law and implemented, the Parliamentary Budget Office has said the construction of the 47 referral hospitals will cost taxpayers Sh236 billion.