Plans that will see construction of a US $150m private hospital within Kenyatta National Hospital in Kenya are in jeopardy after a doctors’ union went to court to challenge the project. The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentist Union (KMPDU) filed the case under certificate of urgency, seeking to stop the plans to construct a seven-storey building at the country’s largest referral.
Funding the project
The project is set to be funded through public private partnership arrangement and the union argues that the 30-year period the winning bidder will manage the hospital, is inordinately long and does not benefit the public in any way. The union, through its Chairman Nicholas Gumbo, noted that the planned private hospital will occupy about 3.6 hectares of KNH grounds and money collected will be used to fund the services of the parent institution.
The union further said that being the major stakeholders in the medical field, the management of the state corporation has not consulted them or the public yet public participation is a national value. Further, the union said in the court papers that the establishment of the hospital will lead to discrimination in the provision of healthcare at KNH because the private hospital will be more equipped and better staffed for profit to the detriment of the Referral hospital.
In the bids announced last month, the management of KNH said the winning bidder will design, build, equip, operate, maintain and transfer the hospital after a certain period. The construction is expected to start in 2020 and expected to be completed by 2023. But the doctors’ union said the concession cannot benefit Kenyans because the developer will exclusively operate the facility for 30 years while collecting massive profits, being protected as a state corporation, as they recoup their investment.
The union stated that their concerns were founded on the fact that KNH being a public institution, established under the State Corporation Act that is purposely mandated to provide critical services to the general public, is obligated to comply with express canons of the law, particularly constitutional instructions.