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Patients to seek State nod for treatment abroad in Bill


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Patients to seek State nod for treatment abroad in Bill


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Parliament during a past session. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • MPs approved the Health (Amendment) Bill, 2019 through the Third Reading clearing the way for Mr Kenyatta’s signature.
  • The Bill, sponsored by Kesses MP Swarup Mishra, will regulate medical referrals of Kenyan patients for oversees treatment.
  • The Bill compels the government to develop policy guidelines to regulate the referral of patients to health institutions abroad.

Doctors will not refer patients for treatment abroad without consulting the government if President Uhuru Kenyatta signs into law a Bill that sailed through Parliament on Tuesday.

MPs approved the Health (Amendment) Bill, 2019 through the Third Reading clearing the way for Mr Kenyatta’s signature.

The Bill, sponsored by Kesses MP Swarup Mishra, will regulate medical referrals of Kenyan patients for oversees treatment.

The Bill compels the government to develop policy guidelines to regulate the referral of patients to health institutions abroad.

The proposed law requires Health Cabinet Secretary to seek the input of the body responsible for the registration and licensing of medical practitioners and dentist as well as the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF).

“The policy guidelines shall ensure that adequate measures are taken to establish whether the health institutions to which a patient is referred to possesses the adequate health equipment and health personnel,” Dr Mishra’s Bill states.

The Bill compels any public health facility that refers a patient to an institution outside the country to ensure that adequate consultations are undertaken with the Kenyan mission in the country in which the referral is made to establish its credibility.

The Bill amends the Health Act in a bid to protect Kenyans seeking medical treatment abroad from abuse and exploitation by agents and doctors.

Thousands of Kenyans travel to India, South Africa, United Kingdom, US and other countries annually to seek specialised medical treatment in areas such as oncology, cardiac surgery, advanced neuro-spine surgery, transplant surgery, and assisted reproductive technology spending millions of shillings.

In 2017, Kenya arrested, charged and deported two Indians for illegal medical practice and being in the country illegally.

This followed the Business Daily’s investigations into a fraudulent scheme involving the recruitment and referral of Kenyan patients to India in exchange for kickbacks.



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