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Where the best of women’s healthcare is found

Dear doctor, I have recently relocated to Kenya and am in search of a highly-rated healthcare facility. Could you please recommend where to access the best of women’s healthcare locally?

The way healthcare is structured in Kenya can be somewhat confusing to newcomers. There is the public health sector, and then there is a buzzing private sector. Identifying where healthcare facilities are located is usually easy, and is aided by an online portal run by the health ministry. But gauging the quality of care upfront is a different matter altogether.

You will not find a tabulation of formal ratings of women’s healthcare facilities yet. Health provider ratings are common elsewhere. This is a good way of providing valuable information to consumers, thus aiding in making decisions on where to seek healthcare. Various metrics are used to rate healthcare facilities. These include clinical outcomes, client satisfaction rates, ease of access, staffing, costs, etc. Well, if you cannot find any local ratings, how then do you select one healthcare provider against another?

The best approach is to do some sort of self-analysis. This may at first appear to be an uphill task, but you can make it relatively easy. Selecting between the public and the private should be straightforward. The next step is to nail down on facilities that you could easily access. Once you have a short-list, you can then source for easily available information on each of the selected facilities, and make some reasoned judgment about the quality of care each of them provides.

The best of women’s healthcare facilities must tick several boxes. For starters, such facilities must be well-resourced and equipped. The infrastructure must be appealing, with appropriate clinical fittings and modern equipment. The staffing must be right. Remember healthcare is really a service industry. You must be treated like royalty, not just by the clinical staff but by everyone else all the way from the receptionists to the senior managers. In other words, the atmosphere must be really welcoming.

Optimal women’s healthcare is a team-based approach. The best of facilities will have specialist teams working together to optimize your care. There is no single specialist, in this day and age, who can sorely care for women as a solo know-it-all. A varied mix of specialist nurses, consultant gynecologists, imaging and other diagnostic specialists will ensure you get the best of care. The best of teams will also readily avail data on outcomes of interest without much fuss. They should already have badges of internationally recognized accreditation, and a highly rated reputation out in the open.

If you look around with a critical eye, it will immediately be apparent where to go, and where not to go. The few good facilities will stand out, without your custom being unnecessarily swayed by self-proclaiming advertising gimmicks.

Dr Alfred Murage is a Consultant Gynecologist and Fertility

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