Kenyans deserve better, from our healthcare, education and infrastructure. This is the feeling that one gets whenever they go to a public facility to be served. Every year, public funds are channeled to improve service delivery and the lives of Kenyans, but it seems the more funds are allocated, the more public services deteriorate. Increasingly, public facilities are becoming a perfect representation of mediocrity and this has forced more Kenyans to prefer private facilities which they can ill afford.
For example, let us focus on the healthcare sector.
It is only last week that we heard that a surgery was conducted on the wrong patient in the largest public referral hospital in Kenya. The ills in Kenyatta hospital that are highlighted daily are just a tip of the iceberg. Kenyatta hospital personifies the collapsed healthcare in Kenya. Getting sick in Kenya is synonymous to a death warrant.
Our healthcare is on its deathbed, if not collapsed; countless problems from a disgruntled human resource to the dilapidated physical facilities can explain this assertion. Across the country, Kenyans complain about the poor services that they get in public hospitals. For instance, nowadays it isn’t guaranteed that our mothers will deliver safely in public hospitals. Kenyans have resulted to airing their grievances on social media, because we even lack feedback systems where patients can channel their complaints or even compliments. Public hospitals have turned into some sort of organized anarchy.
On a Facebook page, by the name “United States of Kiambu”, a woman narrates an alleged ordeal in Kiambu Level 5 hospital when her sister was giving birth. The woman goes ahead to allege that four babies lost their lives from Friday evening to Saturday morning last week, due to negligence.
In this particular hospital, there has been a litany of allegations of misconduct, it is even alleged that staff in this hospital go the extent of asking for bribes to treat patients. To be served well isn’t guaranteed. Yet we are still talking of universal healthcare while we cannot offer basics. It won’t be a surprise if this situation is replicated in most of the public hospitals across the country. Most of these problems continue unnoticed because people who make are responsible for these hospitals do not use them. Public hospitals are left to the poor in the society and it seems that it is well if they suffer.
Our constitution, on the bill of rights – article 43(1) (a) accords all Kenyans the right to the highest attainable standard of health, which includes the right to health care services, including reproductive health care. Why then should Kenyans get only mediocre service yet their taxes pay for better services? In the last budget, healthcare services got an allocation of 60.9 billion, more money than in the previous budget, but did the situation in the sector get better?