NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 4 – The government has been asked to set up the Kenya National Ambulance Services within each county and a central coordinating office at the national level within the next two years.
A taskforce set up to look into the issue of strengthening health service delivery following a doctors’ strike in December said the State should also put in adequate funding to enable operation of the service on a 24 hour basis daily.
It said an allocation of Sh1.3billion was required for procurement of ambulances in the 210 constituencies for the coming financial year of 2012/2013.
“There should be provision of adequate funding mechanisms for maintenance of this equipment,” the report suggested.
Cases of people dying before reaching hospital due to lack of transportation in remote areas of Kenya are common.
“The Kenya National Ambulance Services should be integrated with the disaster and emergency preparedness services,” it said.
The taskforce further asked the government to fill in existing vacancies to ease staff shortages in health facilities noting that Sh19.75 billion was required to recruit additional staff in the next financial year.
It noted that the country still had a severe shortage of health workers with 16 doctors and 153 nurses per 100,000 population. This is compared to the World Health Organisation recommended minimum of 100 doctors and 356 nurses per 100,000 population.
Only a third of these health workers are in the public service.
“The shortage of specialist personnel has been worsened by inadequate budgetary provision,” the report stated.
It also said that provision should be made to train 2,204 health staff of various cadres in various specialties.
“There should be an increase of budgetary allocation for training to about Sh387 million in the next financial year to cater for training needs.”
The 12 member taskforce was established through the return to work formula signed on December 12, 2011 between government and doctors to end a 10 day strike (See related story on the strike) that had paralysed operations in public health facilities.