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KMPDU decries doctor shortage

The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists, and Dentists Union (KMPDU) has decried the scarcity of doctors in the country.

Addressing the press at Ufungamano House on Tuesday, KMPDU Secretary General (SG) Dr. Davji Bhimji Atella said that KMPDU is facing a crisis of unemployment and underemployment of doctors, delayed posting of interns, and delayed payment of intern salaries, which is compromising the quality of healthcare in public facilities.

The SG disclosed that in Kenya, it takes at least 7 years to train as a medical doctor and 1 year of compulsory internship.

He added that it is sad that a nation would spend a lot of resources and time training these professionals and fail to utilise them to save the lives of Kenyans who continue to die from treatable diseases.

Further, Atella insisted that the unemployment crisis in the healthcare system is a major setback to the government’s agenda of implementing Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

“The 1:17000 doctor-to-patient ratio in Kenya is far off the 1:1000 ratio recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and has compromised the delivery of quality healthcare services,” revealed Atella, adding that Kenya seems to have adopted a policy of training them without absorbing them into service.

According to the SG, the severe shortage of medical officers, pharmacists, and dentists in public hospitals has made employees work long hours without going on leave, which makes them unable to attend to patients appropriately.

Atella also pointed out that the delayed posting and payment of interns has made them struggle to make ends meet.

He added that the interns are unable to meet their basic needs, which has led to demotivation in the workforce and consequently affects the quality of healthcare in public facilities.

“The Ministry of Health had agreed to have interns posted by April, which has not happened yet,” said the SG.

By Peace Muthoka and Lucy Gitei

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