Top referral Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) will close its doors to walk-in patients starting this July as part of decongestion of the facility, Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) Director-General Mohamed Badi has said.
The new development, he said, will allow the country’s biggest hospital to concentrate on referral cases only.
The NMS boss said the move is part of a wider plan by the Ministry of Health to have referral hospitals across the country serve what they have been specifically established for.
“In conjunction with the Ministry of Health, we have been able to produce a policy document on referral system in Kenya. Nairobi County will be used as a guinea pig as the first county to implement this strategy to ensure that KNH becomes a teaching and referral hospital only,” said Maj-Gen Badi on Wednesday.
In readiness for the deadline, he said NMS is racing against time to have 24 new Level 2 and 3 hospitals fully operational.
The construction of the Sh2 billion new hospitals, which began last August, is aimed at increasing Nairobi’s bed capacity as well as alleviating the need for patients to rush KNH even with minor injuries.
Four new hospitals have been commissioned by President Uhuru Kenyatta with six more to be launched in the coming week.
“We are working hard to ensure that all the hospitals in informal settlements and disadvantaged areas are completed by the first of June and are operational by the end of June because the deadline for closure of KNH to walk-in patients is the first week of July,” he said.
He further added that Mama Lucy Hospital will also be upgraded to a Level 5 facility while the new Mathare-Korogocho Level 5 hospital will soon be opened.
Moreover, Mr Badi said Mbagathi Hospital will also be revamped as part of the KNH’s decongestion strategy.
“Procurement and tendering process for Mama Lucy hospital’s expansion is already complete and soon the contract will be awarded to a contractor to build the extension. All these new developments will significantly reduce the number of patients rushing to KNH,” said the NMS boss.