The County government of Kisumu is set to hand over the management of the historic Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital (JOOTRH) to the national government in a bid to enhance service delivery.
The facility, which was formerly known as Russia Hospital, was opened in 1969 and serves over seven counties in the Lake Region. However, it has been struggling to cope with the huge number of patients due to dwindling finances and a slash on donor funds and grants.
Speaking to the Senate Committee on Health in Kisumu, Kisumu Deputy Governor Dr. Mathews Owili said the county government had fronted a proposal to the Ministry of Health last year to elevate the facility to level 6 and have it managed by the national government.
“The facility serves over seven counties in the lake region but the funds allocated to Kisumu to operate it are inadequate. We have proposed to the Ministry of Health to elevate the facility to level 6 and have it managed by the national government,” said Dr. Owili.
He added that the move was necessary to unlock funds for the facility which is in the same league with Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital.
The Senate Health Committee Chairman Jackson Mandago said the sentiments by the county government of Kisumu were genuine and that the committee would take up the matter with the Ministry of Health.
“I am in agreement with the upgrading of this facility given its geographical location and the number of patients trooping in from different counties,” said Mandago.
He added that the upgrade was necessary to equip the facility which is also a training centre for doctors to build capacity for the country’s health workforce.
“Since this proposal is already before the ministry of health, our goal as a committee is to find out why it has not been acted upon,” said
Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr. George Rae said funds allocated to the facility have continued to drop over the years dealing a blow to service delivery.
The county government transfers dropped to Sh. 491 million in 2022-2023 financial year.
This, he said was a drop in the ocean for a facility that serves the same population as Kenyatta National Hospital and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital which receive annual transfers and grants of Sh. 15 billion and Sh. 12 billion respectively.
NHIF, he added owes the facility Sh. 130 million further affecting service delivery.
The Senate committee which is conducting an inspection tour of county referral hospitals in Western and Nyanza visited Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital and Ahero County Hospital in Kisumu.