By Nsunjo Erica
Following the government’s failure to incur the costs, public hospitals in Kenya have started charging Covid-19 patients for protective gear used by health workers treating them.
Sources in one of the hospitals said that the government of Kenya has not been releasing cash to the facilities for the bills accrued by Covid-19 patients, therefore each patient carries their cross.
“We are using our money to buy the protective gear and when the government says it will take care of the patients and it does not, we are left struggling,” said the source.
Hospitals are asking patients to pay their full bills, with a big chunk of the charges catering for masks, hazmat suits, gloves, and other PPEs that the health workers don while on duty.
Some of the hospitals identified to be charging COVID-19 patients are Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital and Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral, and Research Hospital.
According to hospitals, a full personal protective COVID-19 kit that costs Sh7, 000 in March now sells at between Sh11, 500 and Sh12, 000.
At Kenyatta University Hospital, the cost of treating a Covid-19 patient ranges between Sh60, 000 and Sh80, 000 and some patients have complained that the facility would not let them leave before clearing the bill through M-Pesa
Additionally, a COVID-19 patient in the intensive care unit at Kenyatta University Hospital is likely to pay Sh71, 000 per day.
According to Kenyatta University Hospital acting Health Director-General Patrick Amoth, it costs about Sh21, 000 to treat an asymptomatic patient while those with mild symptoms are likely to pay Sh21, 400 per day.
Dr. Amoth noted that the high cost is mainly due to the protective gear required by nurses and doctors treating the patients, therefore if the government cannot pay the bills, patients are in for it.
Kenya has so far recorded 28,754 COVID-19 cases as of Thursday 13th after 650 more people tested positive as fatalities stand at 460.
According to Kenya’s Ministry Of Health, 490 more people recovered from the disease bringing the number of recoveries so far to 15,100.