Public hospitals in the country including Moi Teaching and Referal Hospital (MTRH) and Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral and Research Hospital have started charging Covid-19 patients for protective gear used by health workers.
Sources at the hospitals told Nation that the government had failed on its promise to foot the bills leaving the management at a difficult position to continue managing the patients while protecting health workers from the deadly virus.
The patients are now being asked to meet the expenses with a large percentage of the charges catering for Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) including masks, hazmat suits and gloves that the health workers don while on duty.
The government has reportedly not been releasing funds to hospitals for the huge bills accrued by Covid-19 patients.
“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,” a source said.
The cost of managing a Covid-19 patient at the Kenyatta University Hospital ranges between Ksh60,000 to Ksh80,000 with many Kenyans who have been treated at the facility decrying huge bills.
Those who are moved to Intensive Care Unit (ICU) are likely to pay Ksh71,000 per day.
Speaking to Citizen TV in July, some patients at the hospital said they had been detained after failing to clear the bills despite an assurance from the government that anyone brought to a state facility for COVID-19 treatment will not pay.
“Nimetest negative lakini nimenyimwa kutoka sababu sijalipa bill, sasa si nitaambukizwa tena nikikaa hapa?” said a female patient who requested anonymity.
Loosely translated, “I’ve tested negative but the management has refused to discharge me because of a pending bill, don’t you think I risk being reinfected?”
Last month, the Ministry of Health revealed that the cost of managing a Covid-19 patient who is asymptomatic is Ksh21,300 per day.
Speaking during daily Covid-19 briefing, MOH Director-General Patrick Amoth said for those with slight symptoms such as a mild cough or slight difficulty in breathing cost becomes Ksh21, 400 per day.
He, however, clarified that patients with a severe form of Covid-19 who require supplementary oxygen are taken care of at a cost of Ksh51,000 per day.
With the cost of purchasing PPES said to have increased in the recent past Kenyans are likely to pay more to foot bills in the facilities.
Reports indicate that a full personal protective kit that cost Ksh7,000 in March now sells at between Ksh11,500 and Ksh12,000.