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Kenya decries shortage of anesthetists

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 15 – Kenya has 120 specialist doctor anesthetists of which a paltry 17 work in public hospitals against an overall population of about 40 million Kenyans, a health workshop was told on Tuesday.

The 4th All Africa Anaesthesia Congress in Nairobi was told that the remaining chunk of these specialists serve in private health facilities due to better working terms.

In a speech by Health Minister Prof Anyang Nyong’o presented by his Permanent Secretary, Prof James Ole Kiyiapia, it was  noted that out of the 300 Registered Clinical Officer Anaesthetists only 200 are in public hospitals mainly in Nairobi City with the rural areas bearing the brunt of the problem.

“To talk about the future of Anaesthesia in Africa, we have to talk about the state of the medical services and only then can we address its future development on the continent,” said the minister.

The Minister added that the delivery of effective public health intervention to people in need particularly in remote rural locations is a big problem in almost all countries, which is exacerbated further by inequities in workforce distribution and brain drain.

Prof Nyong’o said that the forum should seek for realistic solutions and develop practical plans to improve Anaesthesia services in Africa.

Dr David Otieno, Chairman of the Kenya Society of Anaesthelogists noted that the situation is not any better in the rest of the African countries and indeed the rest of the developing world.

“For this reason The Kenya Society of Anaesthesiologists in collaboration with the Ministry of Medical Services are hosting the congress to deliberate on solutions that offer quality service availability to not only Kenya but the world over.”

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The three-day conference will host over 1, 000 cadres of Anaesthesiologists from all over Africa and the rest of the world whose endeavour will be to exchange knowledge and chart the future of anesthetic medical practice.


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