Bill proposes referral hospital for each county to bridge healthcare gap

Ms Gladys Wanga during a past media briefing in Nairobi
Ms Gladys Wanga during a past media briefing in Nairobi. PHOTO | POOL 

Each of the 47 counties will have a national referral hospital if a proposal to be introduced in the National Assembly is passed by MPs.

The National Referral Health Facilities Bill, 2020 sponsored by Homa Bay woman representative Gladys Wanga also seeks to upgrade all the current level five hospitals to referral facilities.

The Bill will be introduced on the floor of the House this month with Ms Wanga expressing optimism that it will be considered urgently before the end of the year.

“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.

Currently, the country has six referral hospitals including 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.

Kenya has 11 level five hospitals. If passed into law and implemented, Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) estimates that the construction of the 47 referral hospitals will cost taxpayers Sh236 billion.

The national government currently gives counties hosting referral hospitals a conditional grant of Sh4.3 billion to run operations of the facilities.

In the Bill, Ms Wanga wants the money channelled directly to the hospitals’ accounts instead of county bank accounts.

She said if it is passed into law, pressure will ease on the ever-congested Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) leading to improved services.

“There is need to bring specialised services at the county level so that people reduce the countless trips they make to KNH seeking treatment,” Ms Wanga said.

“Why should our people go India for minor operations and surgeries which can be done locally? These are the issues the Bill will cure is passed into law,” Ms Wanga added.

She is also seeking to have a legal framework for the improvement of the management of the national referral health facilities through an establishment of an eight member council committee.