By Murega Njoroge
The Ministry of Health is finalizing plans to introduce a new grading system for hospitals to address quality gaps in the health sector, a health oversight body has said.
According to the Kenya Health Professions Oversight Authority (KHPOA) CEO Dr. Jackson Kioko, all healthcare facilities will be given a star rating based on the quality of care provided in the facility, similar to the one in the hotel industry.
“We are proposing to start grading hospitals according to quality of care. Currently, hospitals are graded because of the infrastructure aspect but not on services,” Dr. Kioko said adding that the authority will introduce star rating for all hospitals.
This, he said, will help users make informed decisions on where to get healthcare services. Dr. Kioko noted that authority also seeks to address the unregulated health professions. Currently, there are nine regulated professions.
“Managing a patient calls for teamwork. It’s not just about a doctor and a nurse. There are other players within the system, which means They have been employed without being regulated,” Dr. Kioko said, citing Section 61 of the Health Act on establishing new professional regulatory bodies.
He said the authority will develop a criterion to regulate the unregulated health professionals. The health sector has 27 health professionals, with about 16 unregulated professions.
“The cost of establishing and sustaining a regulatory body is enormous. Section 61 will enable the Cabinet Secretary and the Authority to develop criteria on establishing a new regulatory body,” he said.
Section 61 states that “any health professionals seeking to form a professional regulatory body must adhere to the criteria prescribed by the Cabinet Secretary in consultation with the Authority.”
He said the government could also establish an allied health professional body to take care of the small health professionals. Dr. Kioko said the authority will create an inventory of unregulated professionals.
“We have designed a tool and soon we’ll be sending information to those who are practicing but not licensed to come and register with us,” he said.
He cited the coordination of health regulatory bodies as a major gap in the health sector, noting that the Authority will monitor the functions and mandate of regulatory bodies.
The Kenya Health Professions Oversight Authority is established by the Health Act 2017 tasked to maintain a register of all health professionals in Kenya as well as promoting and regulating inter-professional liaison. In addition, the Authority also coordinated joint inspections with all regulatory bodies.