Bill regulates referrals of Kenyan patients abroad

 

The bill, sponsored by MP Swarup Mishra, adds a new clause that provides for the development of policy guidelines to regulate the referral of patients to local and foreign health institutions introduced into the Health Act.

According to the Ministry of Health 10,000 Kenyans travel overseas annually in search of specialised medical treatment, spending at least US$15 million. India, South Africa, the UK, and the USA are some of the main destinations for Kenyans seeking treatment.

Some of the most sought medical services by Kenyans traveling abroad include oncology, cardiac surgery, advanced neuro-spine surgery, transplant surgery, and assisted reproductive technology.

During the debate on the Bill, most MPs expressed their support for the proposal, terming it timely.

Agents and doctors involved in the business are trying to lobby for the rejection of the amendment. Some agents for referrals are being paid up to Sh400,000 (US$3,700) for a referral of one patient to hospitals, hotels and airlines, so this business is lucrative. Some agents are accused of persuading Kenyans to go overseas even when treatment is available locally.

If the bill goes through, it will ensure measures are taken to establish whether medical facilities to which a patient is referred have adequate personnel and equipment.

Mishra wants the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board, the National Hospital Insurance Fund, embassies and consulates, and the Association of Private Health Institutions involved in scrutinising the referrals.

Kenya is now ready to receive domestic and foreign tourism. All international passengers entering Kenya are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result, within seven days of arrival. Kenya will also not quarantine or re-test passengers unless they are symptomatic, and will rely mainly on temperature checks to determine high-risk travellers.

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has also awarded Kenya the Safe Travel Stamp. The WTTC designed the stamp to enable travellers to identify destinations and businesses that have adopted its health and hygiene global standardised protocols and can travel safely.

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