KNH frees 258 patients detained over debts

Some of the 258 patients who were released from Kenyatta National Hospital on April 2, 2019. They had been detained over arrears. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • KNH board chairman James Kamau said many patients in emergency care cannot meet the cost of treatment.

For 258 patients detained at Kenyatta National Hospital over unpaid bills, Tuesday was a day to celebrate.

The largest referral hospital in east and central Africa allowed them to go home after a public outcry.

Jubilant family members thronged the hospital to greet and escort them home.

“I am happy. This is God’s doing. I just want to leave this place and go home,” Mr Joram Githaka, who had been detained for a month, said.

He was taken to KNH with severe burns four months ago.

Ms Esther Momanyi said she had lost hope of seeing her nephew leave the hospital.

“Family members said they could not raise the Sh355,000 the hospital was demanding,” she said.


During a press briefing, KNH board chairman James Kamau said the patients had not been detained “as widely reported by the media”.

“The patients had been discharged but had not completed clearing,” Dr Mwangi said.

He added that the 2,000-bed-capacity hospital handles about 70,000 inpatients and 600,000 outpatients every year.

Dr Mwangi said a large number of patients in emergency care cannot meet the cost of treatment.

“About 30 per cent of the patients in the accident and emergency unit are unable to settle their bills. KNH is owed Sh5.6 billion in accrued debts since 2003,” he said.