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Shut down illegal clinics



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The problem of illegal private health facilities has persisted for a long time because of laxity and corruption. It is not surprising, therefore, when Nairobi County Health Department reveals that more than 800 private clinics are operating in the city without approval.

It clearly shows a dysfunctional system. We have several authorities responsible for approving and regulating operations of health facilities. First, City Hall is responsible for licensing all businesses while the health department vets medical facilities. Second, there is the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board, which is responsible for monitoring health facilities across the country. The question is where have they been all these years?

This is not an idle question. The illegal clinics do not just sprout overnight. People visit them, some have qualified and registered medical practitioners and even licences.

Yet, the authorities behave as if they do not exist. Often, the proprietors pay and obtain security from the people that ought to clamp them down.

We have often witnessed cases when the medical board, security agencies and county authorities mount swoops on the illegal establishments and net culprits, but those episodes fizzle out as fast as they are mounted. The culprits know when to hibernate and resurface.

This must come to an end. Illegal medical outfits are a real threat to the citizens. A country cannot risks the lives of its citizens simply because some agencies are too lax, compromised or incompetent to execute their mandates. We demand quick action by the responsible agencies.

They must launch a major operation to shut own all illegal private clinics. These dangerous entities must be closed immediately and the proprietors charged.