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End of Toxicity?: Private Equity firm for Metropolitan Hospital Buruburu quits

Metropolitan Hospital CEO Dr Kanyenje Gakombe

Evercare Health Fund is selling its 54.9 per cent  (Sh1billion) stake in Metropolitan Group Holdings.

The USA Private Equity (PE) firm took over from the troubled Abraaj Group in 2019 and has been financing the Buruburu-based hospital.

After the first PE firm took over, the operations at Metropolitan Hospital took a nosedive.

The hospital changed from being patient-centric to something akin to a ‘Stock market or exchange’.

Private Equity firms are solely driven by profits and when this capitalist greed meets healthcare, the results are tragic, embarrassing and even laughable. The end result is that patients get poorer.

In February 2020, The Nairobi Women’s Hospital was exposed for just that.

The hospital was found to be defrauding patients through unnecessary tests and admissions to raise revenue. After an investigative report, several insurance companies and the Kenya Revenue Authority suspended the hospital from the list of authorised medical services providers.

On its part, the hospital denied the allegations and said that it is conducting an internal investigation. The evidence was all on Social media; until the mainstream media (Nation Media Group) nuked the story by having the blogger Owaah, write the rest of the story for them. This was a great watering down of the evidence.

X-Ray or death ray?

Back to Metropolitan Hospital, immediately it was taken over by the Dubai-Based Private Equity firm Abraaj Group and later the Bill Gates backed Evercare Health Fund, the operations changed to toxic.

According to sources, something peculiar started happening.

The now driven by profits hospital would force all patients mostly those on insurance to have an x-ray of their chest taken.

“The management after renovating the hospital, they bought an X-Ray machine. The machine has been put to good use since, with no patient, even with mild symptoms spared. They are all put on it as doctors recommend it like one would recommend groundnuts in a marketplace”, the patient said.

Metropolitan Hospital’s bed capacity of 134: The group, which is chaired by Dr Robin Michira and has Dr Kanyenje Gakombe as chief executive officer, had initially brought in Abraaj Holdings as an external investor in the hospital.

Unnecessary X-Rays and medications became the order of the day at Metropolitan Hospital in Buruburu, Nairobi.

“The bottom line of this behaviour is money, nothing more, the x-ray charges”

The effects of exposure to x-ray radiation cannot be overstated. X-rays can cause mutations in our DNA and, therefore, might lead to cancer later in life. The World Health Organization classifies X-ray as carcinogenic.

Metropolitan Hospital’s management also used another tactic. That of delaying patients in the queues so as to cut the image of a busy well-to-do hospital.

I guess this was good optics for the PE firms whose managers might pop into the hospital anytime or were monitoring it through some CCTV.

Either way, the exit of the PE firms might signal an end to the toxic culture at Metropolitan Hospital – Buruburu.

And as experience shows, in the supermarkets industry, it might even take down the hospital.


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