Queries have emerged over the end of a probe by Members of Parliament into the elusive mobile clinics worth sh1bn under the Universal Health Coverage.
The legislative Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said that it had completed its investigations into the disputed mobile clinics but reports by a local daily indicate that the mobile clinics are none existent.
The nearly 100 portable clinics that cost taxpayers Sh1 billion to purchase and have raised questions of what became of the costly container hospitals that were supposed to boost healthcare access in counties.
Opiyo Wandayi, the chairman of the PAC, said he couldn’t comment on the topic until it was debated in Parliament because it would be a violation of House rules and procedures.
“You know the procedures of the House, once a report has been tabled, I cannot comment on it, unless it has been considered and approved,” Wandayi stated.
According to the initial tender agreement, the mobile clinics were supposed to be distributed to Kisumu, Nairobi, Murang’a, Uasin Gishu, Elgeyo Marakwet, Kericho, Nakuru, Nandi, and Makueni counties.
The Ministry of Health, on the other hand, indicated that Mombasa will receive six, Makueni three, Nakuru and Nairobi each 20 containers, and that the portable clinics would be erected in Kosovo, Kangemi, and Pipeline in Nairobi, however, in the designated regions, no clinics were held.
Subsequently, the Ministry of Health reversed course, requesting that counties apply for clinics as part of the national rollout of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
Two mobile clinics were agreed upon by each county. However, the majority of them have yet to receive clinics.
When approached for comment, Sirengo Martin, the head of the Ministry of Health’s Department of Health Infrastructure Management, indicated that at least one clinic had been established in each of the 47 counties. However, he did not say if the clinics were open or not.
The mobile clinics were delivered in counties such as Homa Bay, Siaya, Garissa, Marsabit, Isiolo, Kericho, Tana River, Mombasa, and Bungoma, but the mobile hospitals were not operational, according to a spot check.
The Ministry of Health stated that 400 health workers would be hired in Nairobi alone, with at least four assigned to each clinic: a clinical officer, two nurses, and a lab technician.
They were heralded as a game-changer in service delivery when they initially arrived in the country in 2015, particularly in rural areas.
Maternal and child health, emergency, outpatient, post-rape treatment, HIV/TB care, family planning, immunisation, growth monitoring, and laboratory services were all intended to be provided through the scheme.
The 99 containers were sourced from Guangzhou, China, had been unused for nearly six years.
According to Kenya Revenue Authority documents, Estama Investments, the company hired to bring in the medical equipment, paid Sh1.4 million for each clinic and sold them to the government for Sh10 million, making a tidy profit.
Taxpayers, on the other hand, have never had the opportunity to use them.
Last year, the Health Ministry requested an additional Sh600 million to furnish and restore them to useable condition.
Mombasa was supposed to get six containers to put in slums, but only got two, and both are broken.
Only one has been delivered to Makueni, and it is currently unusable.
Kisumu received two portable clinics, but neither of them is operational.
One was sent to Pala in Nyando, while the other has yet to be opened and was supposed to be delivered to Sango Rota, but the road is in horrible shape and the container has yet to arrive.