Public healthcare facilities in Nyeri will receive a boost after the county government plans to deploy six new doctors in a bid to mitigate shortage of medical staff in the region.
An increase in the number of patients seeking medical attention across the county following the implementation of the free medical services through the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and the influx of patients from neighboring counties has stretched the capacity of the existing doctors.
Nyeri County Referral Hospital has borne the brunt of the medical staff shortage necessitating the hiring of more doctors with the only general surgeon being forced to shuttle across the four theatres at the facility.
Health department records indicate that the county referral hospital has 14 doctors. Another 45 are currently undergoing training to sharpen their skills.
The facility which has six dentists, nine pharmacists and twenty-four consultants requires over 30 doctors in order to be able to offer effective services to the increasing number of patients.
The recent procurement of state-of-the-heart medical equipment for medical facilities across the county has also lead to the need to recruit more skilled manpower.
Late last year, the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentist Union (KMPDU) raised concerns over a rise in the deaths of mothers and children in the county owing to the biting shortage of medical staff.
The roll-out of the government imitative of availing free affordable and improved medical care to citizens through the Universal Health Coverage, without a corresponding recruitment of doctors has exerted a strain on the existing health professionals.
“The full implementation of the ambitious programme may face hiccups if the government doesn’t step in and employ more medical staff,” said a source at the Nyeri hospital.
Meanwhile, Kenya is yet to attain the World Health Organization standards of 1: 1,000 doctor to patient ratio.
By Kiamah Wamutitu