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Coast counties facing shortage of health specialists

08 March 2016, 10:35 Ken Wekesa

Nairobi - Coast region counties are experiencing a shortage of medical practitioners which now puts a majority of the health services in the region at risk.

Addressing the press in Hola Tana River County Chief Officer in charge of Health and Sanitation, Hassan Hussein Komoro, said the most affected counties were Tana River, Lamu, Taita Taveta, Kwale and Kilifi.

Also read: Former MP, Minister dies in Nairobi.

 Kamoro said county health management teams were negotiating on how best to utilize the available ones, with a possibility that the specialists and consultants could be rotated within the counties.

 “We are negotiating with Mombasa County, which has relatively a higher number of consultants and specialists with a view to rotating them so that all counties in the Coastal cluster are able to offer quality services to their residents,” he said.

 He was speaking to journalists at a Hola hotel Monday during a workshop on human resource for members of health management teams within the Coastal county cluster on human resource management.

  Mr. Komoro said Kenya did not have enough consultants and specialists, and that the few available ones preferred staying in urban centres where they could do private consultancy work in addition to serving in respective government hospitals.

 “Specialists and consultants in the medical field prefer staying in big cities where they are able to serve in their allocated government hospitals as well as moonlight in private hospitals or operate their private businesses,” he said.

“This puts counties like Tana River, which have long been marginalized, at disadvantageous positions because there are no opportunities for private practice.”

 Within the region, specialists such as pediatricians, gynecologists, physicians, cardiologists among others, can only be found in Mombasa and Malindi towns which have high concentrations of private hospitals.

 The chief officer, who was speaking on behalf of his counterparts in the region, said counties in the cluster also faced great infrastructural challenges, with many health facilities requiring overhaul of their structures.

“For example, Hola referral hospital does not have all units needed. This has been a big challenge but we are discussing on how to see it funded,” he said.

The national government has agreed to give a grant of KES200 million for infrastructural development at the Hola referral hospital, following the signing of a deal between Governor Hussein Dado and Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Kilonzo Mailu in January.

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