The Star (Nairobi)

22 March 2014

Kenya: No Doctors At Mombasa, Taita, Lamu Hospitals

MAJOR hospitals at the Coast are facing an acute shortage of staff and supplies following the mass resignation of medics and lack of funds from the county and national governments. Two major hospitals in Taita Taveta County are grappling with inadequate staff after they all resigned and transferred to other private owned institutions or to other counties.

Wesu in Wundayi and Moi district hospitals in Voi are currently without any doctor and are operating on interns and other subordinate staffs. The Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentist Union said they the region is facing a major health crisis following the problem.

Abidan Mwachi, KMPDU national deputy secretary general said the two hospitals are now rendered non functional due to lack of medics. Moi hospital doubles as an intern training centre and a referral hospital, but with the current situation the hospital might be downgraded to a lower level hospital, according to Mwachi.

The Taita Taveta County director of health John Logedi has however denied there is a crisis in the two public hospitals and operations are still ongoing.

He admitted there is a shortage of staff, but the county has already placed advertisements in the national dailies to fill the deficit.

"We are soon going to have enough doctors to our hospitals," he said.

In Lamu County, the region is facing a shortage of doctors after some went on transfer and some have been alleged to have been sent away by the governor Issa Timmamy for being uncooperative.

KMPDU said it is a worrying trend in a county which has less than six doctors.

Coast general hospital in Mombasa County, the biggest referral hospital in the region is grappling with shortage of medical supplies, doctors and huge debts incurred from the electricity and water bills.

Doctors at the institution are complaining of acute shortage of supplies and lack of financial support from the national and county government.

The hospital was supposed to receive Sh400 million from the national government through the county government but the money has not yet been reached at the institution with only three months left for this financial year to come to an end.

According to the doctors at the facility, the hospital needs about Sh2.8 million per month for electricity to operate effectively, but surprisingly Mombasa government budgeted for only Sh700,000.

Currently it has a debt of about Sh3.7 million electricity bill which has not been footed and there are fears that power supply might soon be cut by the Kenya power company.

The hospital serves about 500 patients daily and received referral from the whole of Coast region, but there is no support from the national and county government.

Currently it is surviving on the National Hospital Insurance Funds which pays about Sh3 million every month for its members to the hospital.

Patients who are not under NHIF are asked to buy their own medical supplies in order to get services from the hospitals.

Doctors say they have decided to introduce the system so that patients are not turned away.

A comment from the Mombasa county health director of Health Dr Khadija Shikelly could not be reached as she was held up in a meeting.

Mombasa executive of health Binti Omar could also not be reached as she did not pick our calls.

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