Challenges Faced By Kenyan Medics In Line Of Duty

By Jane Muia / Published September 30, 2022 | 12:52 pm




KEY POINTS

The World Health Organization (WHO) says that at least half of the people in the world do not receive the health services they need. Similarly, about 100 million people are pushed into extreme poverty each year because of out-of-pocket spending on health.


Health: It’s time We Started Taking Better Care of Ourselves

KEY TAKEAWAYS


In March this year, 908,000 mosquito nets, 1.1 million condoms, and tuberculosis drugs worth 10 million shillings were reported to be missing at the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa).

The lost medicines are believed to have been stolen and resold on the black market and to private chemists.


The health sector is among the most important sectors. It is the sector that deserves the highest level of attention. Without health services, it would be dangerous for everyone.  From diseases, and malnutrition to pregnancy, the world would be the most dangerous place.

Sometimes people tend to complain about getting poor services, especially in public hospitals, but do we ever ask ourselves the root of the problem? We may keep on blaming health care providers for the poor services but sometimes it’s usually not their fault.

Every sector has its hurdles and we need to understand the working environment of doctors before making a quick judgment. What is the state of the health facility? Are the resources available? Are they enough?

The World Health Organization (WHO) says that at least half of the people in the world do not receive the health services they need. Similarly, about 100 million people are pushed into extreme poverty each year because of out-of-pocket spending on health.

The government of Kenya is seeking to achieve affordable healthcare in its big four agenda. However, this may only remain a tale if the government does not first address the challenges that the health workforce is facing. Here are some challenges facing the health care providers in Kenya.

Corruption

This is the biggest threat to Kenya’s health sector. Reports about people embezzling funds allocated for the distribution of medical services and facilities are not new to our ears. In March this year, 908,000 mosquito nets, 1.1 million condoms, and tuberculosis drugs worth 10 million shillings were reported to be missing at the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa).

The lost medicines are believed to have been stolen and resold on the black market and to private chemists.

Similarly, Kenya is said to have lost 7.8 billion shillings (US$70.4 million) meant for the Covid-19 response through corrupt tendering.

Lack of training

When covid 19 was reported in Kenya, some doctors said they did not receive training before being assigned roles of treating the disease. This undermined their ability to treat the disease during the first stages. Some doctors panicked and ran away from patients with covid 19 symptoms.

Lack of Essential Medical Equipment

Most of the health centers in Kenya do not have some of the important medical equipment and products, something that has contributed to poor service delivery in public hospitals. Shortages of protective equipment such as gloves, and masks have continued to be reported in some hospitals, exposing doctors to health risks. More than 20 healthcare workers were reported dead from covid 19. This was partly attributed to a lack of proper protective equipment.

In 2020, a CT scanner at King Fahad hospital in Lamu County was reported to have been out of service for several months because the local county lacked the dye needed to interpret the scans.

In a recent report, Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and dentists’ Union (KMPDU) secretary general DR. Davji BHIMJI Atellah said that some doctors have gone to the extent of donating some surgical equipment to public hospitals, to bridge the gap that the government has neglected for years.

Long working hours

Many sectors in Kenya use the 8 AM to 5 PM work schedule. This is however not the case in the health sector. Doctors in Kenya work in odd shifts meaning that every doctor is on duty for 24 hours. This has been fueled by massive understaffing in public hospitals.

As of 2020, Statista reported that Kenya had 12,792 registered medical doctors serving over 50 million people. This means that 26 doctors were serving a population of 100,000 people.

The doctors have over the past years been pushing the government to respond to their demands for proper training, sufficient staffing, enough personal protective equipment, and psychological support, among other grievances. The government has however continually disappointed them with less effort for their needs prompting them to down their tools.

The doctors of Kenya feel overworked and the government needs to respond to the matter by recruiting as many staff as possible and offering them sufficient training. The government needs to allocate enough funds and resources to the health sector and support health workers psychologically.

The government of Kenya needs to put the need for health workers above its political interest to improve the health care system of Kenya. Only then will the health care system in Kenya become functional, and capable of adequately serving the people.

Related Content: The Doctors Of Kenya Give Their Best, Yet We Treat Them Like Repugnant Maggots






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