HOW NAIROBI WOMEN HAS TURNED TO A DEATH BED THAT MILKS THE POOR FOR FINANCIAL GAIN.
While it has ever been illusioned that the medical services offered in private hospitals are state-of-the-art and professional, it now emerges that the sector covers an incredible quagmire that has ever put at stake lives of the many that seek services in them, the aim being the cartels making profits.
The hospitals are accused of trading on human lives for money, a very dangerous precedent set considering it is a business taking place across the private health sector.
Nairobi women hospital, in particular, has had Kenyans angered by the nature of activities that take place there.
Interviews with whistle-blowers who shared the screenshots paint the picture of a corporate culture of being pushed to meet admission targets. “Although it was not said explicitly,” one former member of the NWH told this writer, “the implication was that doctors and nurses, in particular, had to find reasons to admit patients to meet the hourly and daily targets, even if those reasons were an absolute lie.”
Worse, the majority of women who have had cesarean section deliveries over the past two years have ended up with what can be termed as surgical site infections and the number of complications arising from the procedures done in this hospital worries other healthcare professional and family members. Something that should raise alarm as Kenya’s reproductive age group continues to bear children at a rising rate.
One of the things PE funds do when they acquire a company is to transition it from a founder-run company into a corporate body that can attract a higher price. This is exactly what Nairobi women have become.
From a hospital that was founded on principals of offering exemplary quality health care to now offering financial gain for investors st the excellence of our mothers and fathers. This is exactly what happened at Nairobi Women’s Hospital from the first funding round in 2010, where Dr. Thenya’s ownership systematically diminished as the new owners’ stake increased.
The Nairobi Women’s Hospital group was making Sh12.81 million a day against a target of Sh15.47 million and cumulatively was Sh33 million off a total target of Sh136 million.
Nairobi Women Hospital
As part of the shift from Dr. Thenya’s ownership to the new owners, the PE funds had launched what was typical corporate behavior after acquiring a new asset. Nairobi Women’s Hospital had, over time, stopped hiring doctors, professionally known as medical officers (MOs), most of whom were postgraduate students or specialists in training, to serve outpatient patients.
It had instead turned to hire young clinical officers (COs), who only had a diploma earned after three years of training, to do the job. Currently, the crop of Practitioners you meet there are clinical officers in the name of medical doctors and are trained to taint an image that they are the crop that can diagnose any given kind of condition even a brain tumor on arrival.
To staff its rapid expansion, Nairobi Women’s is now depending on COs to serve patients who were not already admitted to the hospital. It is also encouraging them, according to multiple insiders, to meet admission and revenue targets, which were analyzed every hour of every day, day and night.
While the hospital still hires doctors, it hires fewer than it requires because MOs would get better salaries, and give clinical officers the job of determining which patient needed to be admitted.
It also gives the COs a financial incentive, at one point Sh710 for every patient they admit. This structure means that, while COs would find and push for admissions, even (and especially when) they were unnecessary, more qualified medical officers would only encounter the patients when they had already been admitted and were already paying for the bed, food, tests, and medicines.
Recently a patient was denied emergency treatment following a horrendous road carnage that left him with multiple injuries including a head injury that required intubation. The hospital management citing that they had wanted the family of the patient to clear with the insurance company before being attended.
In some incidences, Nairobi women have forced patients to undergo unnecessary tests that amount to a minimum of 5,000 Kenyan shillings worse of you depend on insurance. They have specialized in milking patients indeed.
“Nairobi Women’s Hospital diagnosed me with fibroids and put me on medication, even recommended surgery. When I sought a second opinion I found out I don’t have them,” another said in a text. The patient was almost undergoing the knife at Nairobi woman hospital.
Another man from Thika who took his nephew to Nairobi women Hospital in 2017 says that after paying Sh6,000 for consultation and a blood test, the doctor told him the boy had poison in his blood and needed immediate admission.
But first, he had to pay Sh45,000 before admission. When the uncle called one of his siblings to get money, he was told to take him to a public health facility.
“We queued but eventually we got to see the doctor,” he narrated. “He just put him on a nebulizer and prescribed antihistamines of Sh150 and we were good to go.
A 2010 World Bank paper, which described Kenya’s private sector as “one of the most developed and dynamic in sub-Saharan Africa”, also noted that both Vision 2030 and Ministry of Health (then divided into two), planned to reduce the government’s role in providing healthcare.
“Some of the key features of those plans include social health insurance to increase access to healthcare, a reduced role for the Ministry of Health in service delivery, more delegation of authority to provincial and district levels, and promoting more public-private partnerships (PPPs)”, the researchers wrote.
What this meant was that whoever could afford to buy or start a private hospital in the country would not only have government support but would also benefit from all the perks offered to international investors.
If this is to go by, then millions of Kenya’s depending on the mentioned hospital above will have to undergo tough times and rely on the grace to heal them.