Re­mote coun­ties to re­ceive top doc­tors in hir­ing plan

Spe­cial­ists will be in ro­ta­tion in for three to six months un­til enough medics have been trained to han­dle spe­cialised cases in hard­ship ar­eas

The Star (Kenya) - - Politics - JOHN MUCHANGI @jo­munji

Re­mote coun­ties such as Tana River, Lamu and Wa­jir will re­ceive spe­cialised health work­ers next year, some for the first time since In­de­pen­dence.

Health PS Ni­cholas Muraguri said the min­istry will hire anaes­thetists, theatre nurses and other spe­cial­ists and send them there on a three-to-six month ro­ta­tional ba­sis.

“They will spend about three months ev­ery year in each re­mote county un­til we have trained enough [medics],” he said.

The staff will be sent to about 10 hard­ship coun­ties that have failed to at­tract well-trained health work­ers, de­spite of­fer­ing gen­er­ous salaries.

The spe­cial­ists will re­turn to their jobs at the Keny­atta Na­tional Hospi­tal and the Moi Teach­ing and Re­fer­ral Hospi­tal after the county stint.

In the past, spe­cial­ist work­ers usu­ally quit their jobs when posted to re- mote lo­ca­tions.

Dr Muraguri said they will also en­gage pri­vate doc­tors to go reg­u­larly to those coun­ties and treat rare con­di­tions in pa­tients who can­not be flown to Nairobi.

“You will find a spe­cial­ist from the pri­vate sec­tor go­ing to a par­tic­u­lar county on a par­tic­u­lar day, like Fri­day, to han­dle breast can­cer cases be­fore leav­ing. Th­ese are highly spe­cialised doc­tors from fa­cil­i­ties like KNH and Aga Khan,” the PS told the Star.

“It does not make sense for a county like Man­dera to pay an on­col­o­gist Sh500,000 to treat only two peo­ple ev­ery month.”

In coun­tries with a proper trans­port net­work, spe­cialised ser­vices are pro­vided to pa­tients through a few cen­tres of ex­cel­lence.

Lamu Health ex­ec­u­tive Kombo Mo­hamed said the county will sup­port the project. He said Lamu loses ev­ery spe­cial­ist they “painstak­ingly train”.

The county re­cently ad­ver­tised for 40 nurses, but only 22 qual­i­fied peo­ple ap­plied and got the jobs. “We pay salaries early. We have pro­moted all of them, but we still have a prob­lem keep­ing them,” Dr Kombo said.

The two ini­tia­tives tar­get hard­ship coun­ties such as Turkana, Lamu, Wa­jir, Man­dera, Tana River, Narok, West Pokot, Garissa and Ka­ji­ado.

Muraguri said the de­ploy­ment of the spe­cial­ists will boost the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Sh38 bil­lion Man­aged Equip­ment Ser­vices project.

“We have al­ready de­ployed 22 re­nal dial­y­sis spe­cial­ists to 10 coun­ties and we shall con­tinue do­ing this to en­sure that Kenyans ac­cess crit­i­cal care closer home. At the mo­ment, 39 out of 47 coun­ties have dial­y­sis equip­ment and 21 are al­ready dialysing. We re­main com­mit­ted to en­sur­ing that this project is a suc­cess,” the PS said.

Eighty-seven hos­pi­tals have re­ceived theatre equip­ment out of the tar­geted 96, in ad­di­tion to 96 hos­pi­tals re­ceiv­ing ster­il­i­sa­tion equip­ment and sur­gi­cal sets. Six out of 11 hos­pi­tals presently have ICU equip­ment and 97 out of 98 have imag­ing and X-ray equip­ment.


Lamu Deputy Gov­er­nor Eric Mugo, Health PS Ni­cholas Muraguri and Gov­er­nor Issa Ti­mamy in­spect med­i­cal equip­ment at the King Fa­had Hospi­tal in Lamu Is­land

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