, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 19 – The government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with five medical training institutions that will allow various public hospitals to be used as teaching facilities.
Medical Services Minister Professor Anyang’ Nyong’o said on Tuesday that the MOU would help increase the number of doctors in the public sector from the current 2,000 to about 5,000.
He added that Kenya only had five oncologists and 13 anaesthetics which in effect hindered medical care in the country.
“Kenya is a nation of great potential but a disappointing underachiever. A nation of about 40 million people should today have at least 37 medical schools of first class rate; it should not have 17,000 nurses in public service. We have a lot of qualified people in this country but they are square pegs in round holes; they are not serving where they should be serving,” he said.
Prof Nyong’o added that the MOU would help rejuvenate and improve medical services in the country which would further reduce costly medical mistakes.
“This country has a huge problem in diagnostic services and if you don’t get your diagnosis right you will end up over dosing patients, under dosing them or treating the wrong disease. If we don’t train our students with proper diagnostics and equip our health facilities well then we shall not get our diagnostics correct,” he said.
Medical Services Permanent Secretary James Ole Kiyiapi said the ministry would work with the Treasury to create incentives for doctors and subsequently counter their influx into the private sector.
“A lot of our young doctors move to the private sector because of money. When they come to us we offer them about Sh50,000 and when they go to the private sector they get about Sh120,000. Although they continue serving in this country a majority of Kenyans cannot afford private health care; they rely on public facilities. It is therefore important that we retain a critical mass of health workers in the public domain,” he said.
Prof Kiyiapi also said that the ministries of Public Health and of Medical Services had finalised on the research paper that recommended new terms of service for health workers as directed by the President in October 2008. He added that the ministry would announce the new terms in the next financial year.
“We have finished our paper and it has now gone to the Public Review Board, which harmonises salaries and allowances in the public sector. This body will analyse our proposals based on what other public servants are getting. If it approves it, the paper will be forwarded to the Treasury to be factored in the budget,” he explained.
Director of Medical Services Francis Kimani called on the training institutions to honor the stipulations of the MOU in order to avoid wrangles in the future.
“Our partnership is like a marriage and we should observe the ethics governing us from the beginning to the end because we do not want to be called every other day to settle squabbles like those in a marriage,” he said.
Vice Chancellor of Maseno University Prof Fred Onyango said the partnership was a much needed initiative as it would ensure medical students get first hand experience in treating diseases.
“Nyanza and especially where the university is located is a hub for many diseases and people continue dying. The partnership will allow our university to accomplish its plans in research oriented services,” he said.
Vice Chancellor Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) Prof Mabel Imbuga added that the partnership would take medical services to another level and improve hospitals.
JKUAT medical students will work with Thika District hospital, Kisii University College will work with Kisii District hospital, Regina Pacis University College, Langata, will work with Mathare and Mbagathi hospitals, while Fred Hollows Foundation will be working with the Ministry of Medical Services.
Outspan Medical College is also set to sign the MOU which will see its students get training from Nyeri Provinical General hospital and Karatina hospitals.
The Kenya Revenue Authority will also sign an MOU with the Medical Services Ministry.