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Kenyan doctors in short supply

MOMBASA, October 17 – About 3,000 doctors are needed to bridge a gaping service delivery hole in public hospitals, the Medical Services Minister Anyang Nyong’o intimated on Friday.

Mr Nyong’o said the government had only 2,000 doctors against a target of 5,000 needed to effectively deliver services in all public hospitals.

“We have plans to employ more doctors in phases to hit the target,” the Minister said as he addressed an open forum at the Mombasa Municipal Council chambers.

Nurses and doctors are in short supply in Kenyan public health facilities, a fact mainly blamed on poor remuneration, which has resulted in a massive exodus of experts to countries where their skills can earn them better pay.

It is estimated, according to reports, that every one physician in Kenya oversees the health needs of approximately 10,000 patients.

This disparity plus a shortage of drugs in the health centres are among the main challenges being tackled by the new ministry, headed by Mr Nyong’o.

The Minister stressed on Friday that the government plans to upgrade all Provincial General Hospitals to make them referral and teaching institutions.

“The program will improve the provincial hospitals and put them on the same level with the Kenyatta National Hospital and Moi Teaching Hospital in Eldoret,” he said, adding that his ministry would hold a workshop to deliberate on how to effect the upgrade.

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Mr Nyong’o said that once upgraded, the hospitals would enable patients seek medical attention at the provincial level and remove the hassle of long distance travel to Nairobi or Eldoret for specialised treatment.

He was flanked by his Assistant Minister Danson Mungatana, Permanent Secretary Prof James Ole Kiyiapi, Director of Medical Service Francis Kimani.

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