Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) has announced plans to increase patient charges annually for five years as the referral facility seeks to raise billions of shillings for facilities upgrade.
The hospital revealed the annual adjustments during the launch of its five-year strategic plan ending 2023, which will see the KNH inject billions into the construction of new cancer and renal units, renovations, new buildings, a perimeter wall and installation of CCTV cameras.
The referral hospital aims to raise Sh31.4 billion from patient fees starting this year and intends to spend Sh95 billion, including Sh10.7 billion on upgrades during the period.
“Cost-sharing fees will be reviewed annually during the implementation of this strategic plan resulting in five per cent increase in revenue per annum,” states the plan.
The hospital last reviewed its charges in 2016. A further upward review will hit the poor hard given the rising reliance on the referral facility for specialised treatment, especially for diseases such as cancer, kidney and heart ailments.
Bed charges at the VIP ward of the private wing increased to Sh20,000 a day from Sh18,000 while single-room wards rose to Sh6,000 from Sh4,000.
Patients admitted to the general ward of the private wing pay Sh4,000 daily, up from Sh2,000 but the referral hospital left charges of its normal wards unchanged at Sh800 daily to cushion the poor from the higher rates.
The KNH joins private hospitals that have raised admission charges and specialists consultation fees, citing increased costs of medicine and equipment due to a volatile foreign exchange rate, imports levy, higher taxes and expensive food.
The hospital intends to raise Sh5.5 billion in the current financial year ending June 2019 from patient fees, and Sh6.3 billion in the following year, up from Sh3 billion in the period that ended June 2016.
The five-year strategic plan allocates Sh2.9 billion for cancer, renal and kidney disease units. Cancer and kidney disease cases have been rising due to lifestyle changes. Poor households affected by the non-communicable diseases have piled pressure on the referral hospital, which is struggling to cope due to inadequate equipment.
The hospital will set aside Sh891 million for perimeter wall and the CCTV cameras. Security breaches have put the KNH in the spotlight including the murder of a patient in the wards and alleged sexual assaults on new mothers.
The hospital allocated the upgrade of information technology infrastructure Sh1.5 billion andSh2.9 billion for new buildings as well as renovations.
Of the Sh95 billion five-year budget, the KNH expects to receive the Treasury allocations of Sh57.9 billion.