Kitengela hospital steps up security to curb cases of bill skipping

Kitengela Sub-County Hospital

A section of Kitengela Sub-County Hospital.

Photo credit: Stanley Ngotho | Nation Media Group

Following cases of patients sneaking out of Kitengela Sub County Hospital to avoid paying bills, the facility has now constructed a perimeter wall and hired trained security guards to man the gate.

Over the past decade, the huge ultra-modern facility, built by the South Korean government through KOICA, has conspicuously lacked a perimeter wall, putting the safety of patients at risk as livestock roam the premises, especially during the dry season.

The director of the hospital, Dr Veronicah Abuto, told Nation: "We have had instances in the past where criminals would run to the facility for safety. Herdsmen used to sneak their cattle into the compound during the dry season. The perimeter wall will ensure the safety of our patients."

A new registration system, piloted at the hospital by the Ministry of Health (MoH), has also been installed to track patients and manage time to avoid long queues that have led to complaints from patients who flood the busy health facility.

According to the statistics from the facility, at least 600 patients are treated daily, which adds up to 7,000 inpatients per month.

The maternity services have also recorded a high volume of over 500 women seeking services on a monthly basis.

Delivery records seen by the Nation showed that 3,967 deliveries took place between June 2022 and February 2023, with at least 3,205 normal deliveries and 762 caesarean sections within the eight-month period. Only three maternal deaths and one neonatal death were recorded during this period. The average number of stillbirths was two.

Dr Veronica Abuto says 80 per cent of women at the facility give birth normally, 15 per cent by caesarean section and five per cent are transferred to referral hospitals with intensive care units.

"The facility has become a joy centre for expectant mothers, we receive more expectant mothers than we can handle and we usually discharge new mothers after one to two days to make room for new patients," she said.

Ms Janet Naliaka, 28, a happy mother of a new baby boy from Isinya, told the Nation that she was referred to the hospital by a neighbour who had delivered twice at the facility.

"I came with a complication but it was taken care of and we are happy that this facility is providing quality services to women," she told the Nation on Wednesday.

Kajiado County Health Executive Committee member Alex Kilowua has urged Kakiado residents to use public facilities as services have improved.

"The influx of patients at this facility as early as 6am shows that the public has regained confidence in public institutions, systems are working and there is a steady supply of drugs," he said.

Mr Kilowua also said that since the national government introduced the new system, revenue collection has reached the Sh10 million mark per month from an average of Sh1.5 million in the past.

"The hospital's own revenue has increased sixfold and we are now receiving patients from our neighbouring counties, unlike before when Kitengela patients used to travel to neighbouring counties for medical services," he added.

The hospital serves the populous town of Kitengela and the neighbouring towns of Mlolongo and Athi River in neighbouring Machakos County.