Western medicine trickled slowly into Kenya with the first little colonial hospitals erected in the bush, most of them near missions. During the 1914 -18 world war, larger hospitals appeared on Nairobi Hill to serve military needs.By the mid-thirties, Nairobi had numerous peripheral Government Dispensaries, a European Hospital serving the Civil Service, a native hospital with an Asian wing and a few private Nursing homes for the settlers.
After the war, the Government built the King George the VI Hospital. It had some 600 beds for the African population and a larger Asian wing was added, the funds for this being donated by the Asian Community. The European Hospital was also enlarged, but could not cope with the great demands made by the post war flood of immigrants.
The colonial Government set up a scheme for the enlargement of many social amenities such as hospitals, schools etc. by putting up funds. Thereby the Nairobi European Hospital Association was set up to oversee these funds.
The Association bought the Maia Carberry Nursing home (now the Kenya School of Law) and built the Princess Elizabeth Hospital (now the Government Dental School). The Princess Elizabeth was opened in 1952. Further demand and the impending closure of the Old Government European Hospital, led to the acquisition of the old Polo ground on the opposite side of the Hurlingham Road where the new European Hospital was built. Later on the European only restriction was dropped and the name was changed to the “Nairobi Hospital”. A School of Nursing was started and named after Cicely McDonnell, a pioneer nurse.
Following independence, there was an exodus of Europeans. The Nairobi Hospital patient population dropped dramatically; economy made readjustments necessary; the selling of the Maia Carberry Nursing Home and the closing of the Princess Elizabeth Hospital; thus concentrating the Nairobi Hospital to its present size.
In 1950, a company was formed to own and manage the Nairobi European Hospitals. That company is now called the Kenya Hospital Association (KHA). This is a company limited by guarantee and not having share capital. The management of the Hospital as laid down in the Articles of Association, is vested in the Board of Management. The directors, known as the board of Management, receive no remuneration for their services. The board consists of elected and or nominated members, elections are held at the Annual General Meetings.
The Board has the sole responsibility for the Hospital. All committees and sub-committees, including the Medical Advisory Committee (MAC) derive their existence and power form the Board of Management.