All it took was one leaked WhatsApp conversation to get Kenyans talking of their terrible experiences with Kenyan hospitals.
Twitter User Morris Keruga was first to blow the whistle when he leaked screenshots of a Nairobi Women’s Hospital WhatsApp group chat that revealed secrets of some dark activities that are engineered in order to attract and retain more patients.
The screenshots have since caused an uproar online as more people have come out to share the tragic experiences they have had in various private hospitals. This seeming like a trend that has been going round in the country for a long time.
In fact, Keruga’s expose did not only get Kenyans talking, but it also got insurers up to react to how Nairobi Women’s Hospital has been hiking hospital fees. Most of the hospital’s patients are insured and it is these companies that pay the bills. All insurers in Kenya blacklisted the hospital urging patients to seek medical attention in other partnering hospitals and that cash payment may not be refundable.
In the expose, CEO Dr. Felix Wanjala is seen giving precise admission numbers and discharges that should be done daily. He is also seen questioning a nurse for high discharge rates and advises her to keep the numbers on a check and avoid lots of discharges.
The expose got Kenyans talking about their experiences with Kenyan hospitals. Many were highlighting that in Kenya there is no difference between a public and private hospital in Kenya pointing out that the private ones offer even worse services than public ones.
Stephanie Mwega talked about her experience with Aga Khan that made her realise private hospitals are in for the money and not to provide healthcare. Stephanie’s family member was almost wrongfully admitted to the hospital even though he was only dehydrated.
“A family member went to Aga Khan- turned out to be dehydration from a wrong drug prescription. The Dr. insisted to admit him, and a down payment of 70,000KES. A kind nurse let him know that all he needed was a drip and to drink lots of mineral water, he was good to go in 2 hours,” she tweeted.
Macharia Gachio added more salt to private hospitals’ injury saying that they are more of billing machines than healthcare facilities.
“Most of our private hospitals are more billing machines rather than healthcare facilities. Go to the elite Nairobi, Aga Khan, etc with a common cold and you’ll pay a fortune in lab tests and a whole pharmacy of unnecessary drugs. You could even end up in the theatre,” he noted.
Going by the name Samor boy on twitter, another Kenyan gave his friend’s experience with Nairobi Hospital. According to Samor, the hospital held his friend for 4 days treating a disease that did not exist.
“My neighbour visited Naivasha branch with a headache and they admitted him for 4 days treating all manner of tumours and brain growth. Turns out he has been on his laptop for days at KenGen Naivasha. He only needed glasses,” Samor lamented.
Many Kenyans have since shined a spotlight on private hospitals after Murage’s expose. Nairobi Women’s hospital has been severally highlighted because of how it disappoints Kenyans.
Last year, the high court ordered Nairobi Women’s Hospital to pay Ksh54 million to a minor, for negligence during his birth which led to cerebral palsy. The hospital was also ordered to pay the patient’s mother Ksh800,000 for the pain she experienced during labour.
More complaints made by Kenyans stated that hospitals; charge abnormally high consultations fees, recommend highly-priced drug options, admit with much ease despite patients not being seriously ill, extend admission dates despite patients improving enough to be discharged, and increased numbers of cesarean sections.
This scandal has led to the suspension of Insurance covers from Nairobi Women’s Hospital and all its branches by companies like CIU, Britam, UAP and AAR.