An In-Depth Look At Level 6 Hospitals in Kenya

Referral Hospitals are part of Level 6 Health facilities

In Kenya’s healthcare system, Level 6 hospitals stand as the pinnacle of medical care, providing advanced and specialized services beyond those offered by lower-level facilities. These institutions play a crucial role as national referral hospitals, large private teaching hospitals, or mission-based medical centers. In this blog, we will delve into the unique characteristics and services offered by Level 6 hospitals, focusing on their significance in the healthcare landscape of Kenya.

1. National Referral Hospitals

National referral hospitals, such as Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH), serve as the apex of the healthcare system, providing specialized medical care that goes beyond the capabilities of regional and lower-level facilities.

The services they offer include comprehensive surgical services, including major and specialized surgeries. State-of-the-art diagnostic imaging, including ultrasound and CT scans, and specialized treatment for complex medical conditions.

2. Large Private Teaching Hospitals

Large private teaching hospitals contribute significantly to medical education, research, and advanced clinical care. They often collaborate with academic institutions to train the next generation of healthcare professionals.

The services they offer include advanced surgical procedures, mirroring or even surpassing those offered in public national referral hospitals. Teaching and research programs to foster medical education and innovation among others.

3. Large Mission-Based Hospitals

Mission-based hospitals, often affiliated with religious organizations, play a vital role in delivering healthcare services to diverse communities for the Level 6 Hospitals in Kenya. These hospitals often prioritize compassionate care and community outreach.

They offer a broad spectrum of medical services, including surgeries and specialized treatments. They focus on community health and preventive care and place an emphasis on holistic and patient-centered care.

Services Offered in Level 6 Hospitals

Level 6 Hospitals offer a variety of services, given the first class equipment they have. From surgical services to diagnostic imagine, they endeavor to avail the best quality care. The services they offer include:

1. Comprehensive Surgical Services

Level 6 hospitals are equipped to perform a range of surgical procedures, including major surgeries and specialized interventions. Examples include open-heart surgeries, neurosurgical procedures, and organ transplants.

2. Advanced Diagnostic Imaging

Level 6 hospitals utilize cutting-edge diagnostic imaging technologies to provide precise and detailed insights into patients’ health conditions. Procedures include Ultrasound for non-invasive imaging, CT scans for detailed anatomical information, and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) for advanced imaging needs among others.

3. Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy is an integral part of rehabilitation services offered in Level 6 hospitals. It focuses on helping individuals regain independence in their daily activities. Practical examples include rehabilitation for patients recovering from surgeries and adaptive strategies for individuals with disabilities.

4. Orthopaedics

Orthopedic services in Level 6 hospitals address musculoskeletal conditions, providing specialized care for bone and joint-related issues. The hospitals conduct joint replacement and spinal surgeries. They also perform treatment for fractures, and sports injuries among other key procedures.

5. Specialized Treatment

Level 6 hospitals are equipped to handle complex and specialized medical conditions, often serving as regional and international hubs for specific treatments. Examples include cancer treatment and oncology services, cardiovascular interventions and cardiac care, and specialized neurology and neurosurgery services.

6. National Spinal Injury Referral Services

Some Level 6 hospitals, like KNH, serve as national referral centers for spinal injuries, providing specialized care for patients with spinal cord injuries. Medical procedures at that level include surgical interventions for spinal cord injuries and rehabilitation services for spinal injury patients.

7. Collaboration and Research

Level 6 hospitals actively engage in collaboration with academic institutions and contribute to medical research, driving advancements in healthcare. They participate in clinical trials, and research initiatives to improve treatment modalities.

Significance of Level 6 Hospitals in East and Central Africa

These hospitals are the center of excellence in East and Central Africa. As a result, the benefits they accrue affect many patients. The significance of these hospitals include:

  • Regional Hubs for Specialized Care: Level 6 hospitals in Kenya often serve as regional hubs, attracting patients from neighboring countries in East and Central Africa seeking specialized medical treatments.
  • International Medical Tourism: With their advanced infrastructure and specialized services, Level 6 hospitals contribute to medical tourism, attracting patients from abroad seeking high-quality healthcare.
  • Capacity Building and Training: Large private teaching hospitals and national referral hospitals play a pivotal role in training healthcare professionals, contributing to the development of the healthcare workforce.
  • Research and Innovation: Level 6 hospitals actively engage in medical research, contributing to the advancement of medical knowledge and fostering innovation in healthcare practices.

Challenges and Future Perspectives

Despite their success, Level 6 Hospitals still face notable challenges. These challenges shape the perspectives and targets of developing them.

  • Infrastructure and Resources: Despite their significance, Level 6 hospitals often face challenges related to inadequate infrastructure and limited resources. Continued investment is crucial for maintaining and expanding their capabilities.
  • Accessibility and Equity: Ensuring equitable access to Level 6 hospital services is essential. Efforts should be made to address geographical disparities and improve healthcare accessibility for all.
  • Technology Integration: Ongoing efforts are needed to integrate the latest technologies into Level 6 hospitals, enhancing diagnostic capabilities, treatment modalities, and overall patient care.
  • Collaboration and Partnerships: Strengthening collaborations with international healthcare institutions and fostering partnerships with private organizations can contribute to the growth and sustainability of Level 6 hospitals.


Level 6 hospitals in Kenya represent the pinnacle of healthcare, providing advanced and specialized services that go beyond the capabilities of lower-level facilities. These institutions play a vital role in regional healthcare, serving as national referral centers, hubs for specialized care, and contributors to medical research and innovation. As Kenya’s healthcare system continues to evolve, investments in infrastructure, technology, and workforce development are crucial to ensuring that Level 6 hospitals can meet the growing healthcare needs of the population and contribute to the advancement of medical science in the region.

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