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Private hospitals warn govt against discrimination

23 October 2014, 22:58 Samuel Kisika

Nairobi – The Kenya Association of Private Hospitals (KAPH) has cautioned the government against discrimination in favor of public hospitals in terms of licensing and recognition as complimentary health service providers.

The KAPH Chairman, John Nyauma, said the perceived misconception that private hospitals are only in business for profit-making to be overburdened with lengthy and expensive multiple licensing from a total of 10 bodies aims at locking them out of the market.

Nyauma held that private health facilities are developed by individual health professionals’ meager resources to assist the government in providing easily accessible and affordable health services.

The Laboratory Council, Radiation Protection Board, NEMA, Nursing Council, Pharmacy and Poison Board, Single Premises Permit License, Atomic Nuclear Act, the Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board (MPDB) are among the 10 bodies every private hospital has to be issued with the licenses.

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“All these Boards and Councils require us to have paid for a license to them in order to engage in private practice, a role that is entrusted to the MPDB. It is not possible to be licensed by over 10 bodies to practice medicine in this country. It is expensive and confusing,” said Nyauma.

Such lengthy licensing process, KAPH chair said it makes the provision of healthcare services too expensive hence demanded for one body to issue the license for effectiveness and affordability. The licensing cost ranges from the highest KES 70 000 for Pharmacy and Poison Board, and NEMA, to the lowest KES 20 000 for Single Premises Permit License. The MPDB license costs KES 30 000.

“MPDB together with the Ministry of Health have constituted a joint inspection committee with representatives from all these boards, which inspects all hospitals before licensing them and regularly to maintain adherence and quality. That is why any other body has no mandate to inspect and issue us with the license,” said Nyauma.

The KAPH chair also faulted the government’s move of sidelining private hospitals from incorporating them in providing the implemented free maternity healthcare services in favor of public and faith-based hospitals.

KAPH urged the government to encourage the growth of private hospitals that are over 200 and contributing to 26% of healthcare service provision across the country.

Nyauma and other KAPH officials including Peter Ombaka (Secretary General), and George Rae (Treasurer) were speaking to the National Assembly's Health Committee presided over by the Vice Chair, Robert Pukose.

Pukose also concurred with the KAPH officials' call for the government to recognize their remarkable contribution in providing health services in the nation.

"There is a proposed Health Bill this committee is working on to address such problems especially one body to be mandated with licensing of private hospitals, professional management of
NHIF among other laws," said Pukose.

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