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Concern over the high number of health professionals leaving Kenya

Governors raise concern over the high number of health professionals (doctors) leaving Kenya to overseas.

The large number of health professionals leaving the country, according to the Council of Governors (CoG), is alarming and leaving Kenyans vulnerable.

The chairperson of the CoG Health Committee, Muthomi Njuki, is now advocating for a reform of the regulations that cause health workers to leave the country, citing a shortage of doctors to care for Kenya’s 50 million citizens.

The governor of Tharaka Nithi claims that there aren’t enough doctors in the country.

He said the problem is exacerbated by medical professionals who leave the nation in search of better opportunities abroad.

CoG data reveals that 362 doctors are away on study leave while 135 have completed their scholarships and are expected to be back in the counties.

However, there are fears some health professionals may not go back to their stations in counties as they either seek transfers or go into private practice. A further 229 doctors are still out on postgraduate training.

The CoG now says there are only 14 doctors for every 10,000 Kenyans.

“14 for every 10,000…so even when we talk about exporting health workers, we are giving away the creme de la creme, and our people are left to be treated by lower cader…I don’t want to say quacks…we should retain the best and send the surplus,” Governor Njuki said.

Speaking at a conference dubbed ‘Developing A Healthcare Workforce For Africa,’ Njuki noted that Kenya is at a loss as taxpayers’ money spent training medics is lost as the doctors leave the country.

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“We spend as African countries to train our health workers but we send them for free to the West at the ignorance of assuming that they need jobs as they are jobless yet our health facilities do not have enough doctors,” he said.

However, the country is unable to employ the huge number of nurses who are completing college every year as the much-needed funds are paid to doctors who are not provided the much-needed services.

“While we are complaining we have brain doctors and nurses going to the West, we as government are not able to employ them for lack of funds, I advertised for 30 positions, and 600 applied,” he said.

The Ministry of Health however refuted claims of a brain drain saying the country trains enough medics for the nation and sends them abroad.

“We are training for the Kenyan market and foreign markets, we do not want to overtrain who cannot be absorbed,” health ministry official Dr. Bartilol Kigen stated.

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