Health facility numbers fall on Covid, state crackdown
The number of health facilities in the country fell by 463, according to the 2022 economic survey, as more private hospitals closed.
Data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) as documented in the report shows that there were 14,600 health facilities in the country in 2020, up from 14,137 last year.
“This was partly due to the closure of some Tier Two and Tier Three facilities,” the recently released report said.
The report states that during the reporting period, level 2 facilities, which included dispensaries, medical clinics and freestanding facilities, accounted for 77.4 percent of all health facilities.
In 2021, the government owned 85.8% of the country’s dispensaries, while 94.0% of medical clinics were privately owned. Medical centers, health centers and nursing homes, which constitute level three health facilities, accounted for 16.0% of the total facilities last year.
“Hospitals, which are tier four, five and six, accounted for 6.5% of total facilities. Tier four and tier six hospitals increased to 895 and 20 respectively, while tier five remained constant at six during the review period,” the report said. According to the data, a big cause of the overall decline was private facilities, a trend not seen since 2017. Owners of small clinics and medical centers were the most affected.
For example, some 271 private medical clinics are not included in the 2021 figures taken from the Ministry of Health in the category of level two establishments. This is the largest decline in the number of private institutions, according to the report.
In 2020, the number of level two private medical clinics was 4,890, a steady growth from 4,427 in 2019; 4,193 in 2018 and 3,902 in 2017. Last year, however, this figure fell to 4,619. There were also 35 fewer private dispensaries in this category, falling from 4,818 to 4,902 and 16 autonomous less.
The other significant drop is in private medical centers that fall under Tier Three facilities, where the figure fell to 533 from 719 in 2020.
The number of private health centers in this category increased by one to 15, while there were 132 more private nursing homes last year.
Level four primary care facilities, on the other hand, increased from 36 to 409.
Data indicates that there were 508 private facility closures compared to 355 new ones, giving a net of 153 (new facilities) in 2021. The Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Council (KMPDC) says the closure of private facilities health has been dictated, among other factors, by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has seen the reduction in the number of patients visiting hospitals and thus has led to a drop in revenue, forcing some facilities to close,” said KMPDC Deputy Director of Communications and Public Relations, Simon Kiraithe, in a press release. He said the council had also closed 188 facilities for failing to meet stipulated standards. Nairobi had the highest number in this category with 86, followed by the Coastal Region (53) and the North Rift (19).
The KMPDC was for a long time the sole body accrediting healthcare facilities and practitioners until the coming into force of the Health Act 2020, which requires the Nursing Council and the Clinical Officers Council to register health workers. private clinics and their professionals.
“Due to the change in the law, most of these professionals migrated their facilities from KMPDC to their respective regulatory bodies,” Kiraithe explained. The closures may also have been affected by the investments the government has made in lower-tier establishments during the pandemic.
“Following the lessons we have learned from Covid-19, several tier three and four hospitals have been developed mainly within the informal settlement which has taken the pressure off Kenyatta National Hospital and improved in a more to a large extent the health institutions of this country. said National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Mr. Ukur Yatani at the launch of the 2022 Economic Survey report earlier this month.
But despite the shutdown, the private health sector still leads in the number of hospital beds and cribs. “The number of hospital beds increased by 10.1% to 90,417, while the number of hospital beds increased by 9.2% to 9,766 in 2021,” the report said.
“The number of hospital beds in public facilities increased from 37,069 in 2020 to 38,132 in 2021, while hospital beds in private hospitals have increased steadily over the past five years to 36,817 in 2021.”