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Coast General Hospital to be semi-autonomous in proposed changes

Governor Abdulswamad Nassir has initiated the process of turning the Coast General Teaching and Referral Hospital (CPGH) into a fully-fledged county parastatal through the enactment of legislation.

The proposal, Nassir said, is aimed at “preventing executive overreach into the management of health by putting in place a legal framework that guarantees the financial independence of Mombasa’s hospitals”.

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“This means that the terms of service for staff can only improve; pensions will be secured and salaries paid on time. Moreover, this will allow the hospital to plan with certainty as we include mechanisms for ring-fencing funds generated at health facilities for use in the health sector,” said Nassir during a dialogue with CPGH staff.

CPGH serves all six coastal counties, which the Governor said has put a strain on the sustainability of the hospital because it serves a large population beyond the tax-collecting reach of Mombasa.

“This strain has become greater with the cessation of the disbursement of conditional grants from the National Treasury that served to support the operations of level five hospitals in the counties,” said Nassir.

In 2016, the Mombasa County Corporations Act came into force, leading to the establishment of Mombasa Investment Corporation and Mombasa Water and Sewerage Services Corporation.

If the proposal comes to pass, CPGH will join the ranks of other referral hospitals like Kenyatta National Hospital, which is a parastatal.

“When you have your own law, you stand on your own, and  you’re able to receive funding from the executive. As you receive funding from the executive, you’re also entitled to be able to raise revenues,” said Nassir, allaying fears that CPGH is going to be a private entity.

“It has to be under an act of its own; right now, if they want to review their tariffs, it’s a challenge,” said the Governor.

The Governor noted that the Mombasa wage bill exceeds the acceptable percentage as set out in the Public Finance Management Act, 2012, which limits county governments spending on salaries to 35 percent of the total county revenue.

Nassir said his administration spends about Sh 497 million on salaries monthly, with staff working at CPGH gobbling up about Sh 100 million.

The Governor assured staff working at CPGH that their pensions and other benefits would not be affected by the proposed changes that will see the payroll transferred to CPGH.

“Issues to do with your pensions—none of that gets affected because even when we are doing that legal document that will be signed to your satisfaction, your pensions remain the same; they will not be touched whatsoever,” he said, adding that medics who do not want to remain on the CPGH payroll will be transferred to other facilities.

The Governor said he will use dialogue to address concerns on sustainability, pending promotions, job security, and management.

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