Conversations on the strengthening of Referral facilities to function optimally took center stage during a visit by the Chief Innovation Officer from the US State Department / PEPFAR, Blended Financing, and Sustainable Investing, to Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital (JOOTRH).
During the visit issues of availability of data explaining specific reasons for referrals were also discussed.
The Chief, Dr. Jeffrey Blander said that it was important to document referral reasons to establish the challenges that are faced by the lower-level facilities.
“We need to know whether the issue is stock out, specialized equipment for needed procedures at the lower level facilities.” He said
Dr. Kharma Rogo, PharmAcess board chair who was part of the delegation to JOOTRH added that it would be important to strengthen the lower-level facilities and ensure that they are paid-up services and not free.
“We need to treat at lower-level facilities and not refer.” Dr. Rogo said.
PharmAcess County director, Dr. Wassuna Owino was also part of the delegation to JOOTRH that was received by Deputy CEO Dr. Dedan Ongong’a and the hospital’s executive committee members.
Dr. Ngonga informed the sitting that JOOTRH has plans to separate outpatient services so that the facility responds to only referrals.
“I’m here because we need to hear the voices of providers as well as the voices of the clients you serve to improve the delivery of health services.” Dr. Blander added.
He added that it would be important to review policies indicating that services at lower-level facilities are free.
The visits were focused on areas of collaboration between the US State Department and varied programs within JOOTRH’s “We are looking for modalities on how we work with you to improve quality and make Kisumu as well as JOOTRH a model for others to emulate.” He added.
During the visit those present were taken through a demonstration of the power of Mtiba in tracking UHC patients’ journey at JOOTRH, looking at components including registration, billing, diagnosis, and provision of comprehensive services.
The team also discussed ways of strengthening the existing innovations like the Marwa Insurance for the residents of Kisumu as well as NHIF. Matters of blended finance and sustainable investing was also discussed.