EDITORIAL: Thorough audit needed to revamp KNH operations

The Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG
The Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) deserves a corporate reputation that befits a premier public referral health facility.

Thousands of poor Kenyans look up to the hospital as a last point of call whenever they fail to get befitting medical attention at lower level facilities.  

It cannot, however, be denied that the barrage of public complaints and the recent spate of scandals at the hospital have painted a picture of an institution that is in dire need of effective leadership to save it from total collapse.

Patients and guardians seeking medical attention at KNH have for many years expressed disappointment over the quality of services offered at the facility.

From delayed treatment to missed diagnosis and run down facilities, the complaints have been far and wide.

But all is not lost. The hospital can still redeem itself through decisive leadership and win back the confidence of Kenyans.

Access to healthcare is a Constitutional right of every Kenyan and this should not be upset by lapses in the management of medical institutions such as KNH.

Article 43 of the Constitution gives citizens the right to the highest attainable standards of health which must reflect in the entire system. The suspension of KHN chief executive Lily Koros, following a brain surgery on a wrong patient, offers the institution an opportunity to reflect on its operations structures.

The hospital’s management should audit all its operations and seal any loopholes that are causing inefficiency and substandard service delivery.

Those appointed to various positions at the hospital must be vetted afresh for competence so that we don’t have the wrong people steering the institution.

Ultimately, there is no denying that KHN needs a strong blend of management and medical specialists to restore its faded pride.

Politics should be kept out of the reform agenda at KHN if any meaningful progress is to be realised. A competent manager would conventionally deliver results irrespective of the tribe or religious or social affiliations.

The national government should also firm its support for KNH because most county-run facilities are yet to achieve the desired healthcare quality standards hence many Kenyans still rely on it for now.