Kenyan public hospitals have started charging Covid-19 patients for protective gear used by health workers treating them, after the government reneged on its promise to foot the bills.
The patients are being asked to foot their 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.
The Nation reported this could be due to the rise in the cost of equipment and materials used in the treatment of Covid-19.
A full personal protective kit that costs Sh7,000 in March now sells at between Sh11,500 and Sh12,000.
A source in one of the hospitals told the Nation that the government has not been releasing cash to the facilities for the 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,” said the source.
Some of the hospitals charging patients are Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital and Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral and Research Hospital.
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.
A patient in the intensive care unit is likely to pay Sh71,000 per day.
Acting Health Director-General Patrick Amoth, during one of the Covid-19 briefings, said 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.