Machakos — Governor Alfred Mutua on Monday revoked business permits of all privately run health facilities operating within a radius of three hundred meters from key public health institutions across the county.
This is after the expiry of a three-month notice issued by the county boss on February 7 this year directing the business operators to relocate in a move aimed at curbing theft of medicine from public hospitals.
Nineteen people were also arrested in a raid on private clinics, chemist shops and laboratories located near Machakos level 5, the county's largest health referral facility.
"We are doing this in the interest of the general public who are being exploited every day and overcharged for medical services which are supposed to be offered free of charge in all public hospitals," Dr Mutua said.
Several operators who got wind of the raid however closed down their businesses and managed to escape.
The governor said despite having issued the relocation notice to the operators of the private health facilities, there were still widespread complaints from members of the public that they were still being 'referred' to private clinics to buy medicine or procure various medical services.
Dr Mutua termed the trend 'dangerous' and one of the greatest hindrances to the Universal Health Coverage program.
"In Machakos we are implementing the Universal Health Coverage where all residents who have signed up are enjoying free medical services in all public health facilities. Unfortunately, there is a clique of corrupt officers working in my government who have been colliding with rogue traders and private clinicians to erode the gains we have made," Dr Mutua said.
The governor directed the County Executive Committee member for decentralized units to immediately launch a countywide crackdown on the facilities which are operating against the laid down regulations.
For level 3 facilities, the governor announced privately run health facilities will only be allowed to operate minimum of 100 meters away.
He said data will be gathered about dispensaries and advisory on the same issued in the next few days.
"This exercise will be conducted across the county under the leadership of the county minister for decentralized units beginning today. We want to ensure that impunity and disregard of established regulations are done away with in Machakos," Dr Mutua charged.