20 March 2018

Kenya: House Team Wants KNH Board Reconstituted


The National Assembly's Health Committee wants the entire board of Kenya's largest referral hospital replaced as it is not carrying out its functions in the national interest.

In a report detailing its findings on the mishap in the treatment of two patients with head injuries, the committee also suggested that there is a need to replace the top management at Kenyatta National Hospital.


The committee recommended: "In recognition of the board's failure to carry out its functions in the national interest, the appointing authority in accordance with the State Corporations Act, constitutes a new board."

"The new board should appraise the top management," the committee said, "with a view to placing the right personnel with the right qualifications in these positions."

From its interactions with the management, the board, the Cabinet Secretary, staff and other people connected to the hospital, the committee concluded that there were problems in almost every aspect of the facility.

"There exists a culture of reaction and unresponsiveness rather than pro-activeness, characterising the hospital," said the committee.

When Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki met the team, it said, she submitted that she visited the hospital on March 2, soon after the botched surgery, it was in a bid to jolt the board into action as is it was not responding to public emotion.

In its investigations, the committee was told that a job evaluation done at the hospital in 2015 revealed that the hospital had a shortage of 172 doctors, 808 nurses, 62 security personnel and another 414 staff engaged in other sections of the hospital indicating a total shortage of 1,456 staff.

The committee concluded that the systemic failures at the hospital are partly as a result of non-compliance with guidelines and standard operating procedures.


It noted that when the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board looked into the botched surgery it noted that the top management at KNH gave contradictory responses when asked about the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the procedures.

The problem is not with the human resource alone, the committee said. Nearly half, 45 per cent of the equipment and machinery at the hospital is obsolete.

The Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan is obsolete and its replacement slow because procurement is long, it has one laparoscopy tower machine (it did not have one for six months) and the skin grafting machine is broken down, so doctors have to do it manually.

"Provision of medical services at KNH is severely hampered by lack of crucial equipment. The heart lung machine is not working and the KNH depends on a borrowed one," the committee said.

On allegations that new mothers had been raped, the committee said there had been no formal reports made to the administration at KNH, and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations is yet to complete its investigations.

It recommended that the DCI speed up its investigations and submit a report to the National Assembly within 14 days of the adoption of the report. The police were also asked to submit their report on the patient who was stabbed and bludgeoned to death in 2015.

The committee recommended that the Inspector-General take charge of security at KNH as there are other public institutions within its precincts.


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