Dodoma — The government has announced that it will employ all doctors who had expressed willingness to work in hospitals in Kenya.
This follows moves by Kenya's High Court to stop that country's ministry of health from recruiting doctors from Tanzania.
This was revealed here yesterday by the Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Ms Ummy Mwalimu, noting that President John Magufuli had now decided that the government would now employ all the 200-plus doctors who had been vetted to work in the Kenyan hospitals.
Ms Mwalimu explained that the government had already vetted 258 out of 496 who expressed willingness to go work in the Kenyan hospitals since it (government) announced the 500 slots on 18th to 27th March, this year.
"Following a rigorous vetting against the requirements which included that they must have valid certificates from respective authorities, be aged not more than 55 years old, be registered under the Medical Association of Tanganyika, among others, we got 258 doctors," she explained.
Ms Mwalimu explained that the president's decision had been prompted by moves by the Kenyan court which effectively stopped the recruitment of the Tanzania doctors destined to work in the Kenyan hospitals.
"Both sides had agreed that the process of getting the doctors would be completed by 6th April and that the doctors would be ready to travel to Kenya between 6th and 10th of this month ... but since the Kenya court has not lifted its decision as we speak, Dr Magufuli has decided that the government will employ the doctors," she explained.
She explained that the government had not initially engaged the doctors due to lack of funds, "but he is the Head of State ... without doubt he knows where he will get the money to employ these experts in (our own) health sector.
" However, she stressed that the government would be ready at any time to work afresh on the Kenyan request for 500 doctors - if they still have the need and if they cleared their own court injunctions.
Last month, an envoy from the Kenyan government led by the Minister of Health, Dr Cleopa Mailu, arrived in the country seeking audience with President Magufuli and at which the Kenyan official sought permission to hire 500 doctors from Tanzania for a two-year work contract in the country.
Dr Magufuli agreed to the request and directed the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children to work on the process of getting the number of doctors on request. "The difficulties of Kenya are the difficulties of Tanzania ... we agree to send you these 500 doctors to provide care to our brothers," President Magufuli then said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the government has expressed disappointment over a story carried by one of the local daily Kiswahili newspapers with a headline saying 'Gonjwa la ajabu linavyoua nchini' literally meaning a "strange disease is killing people in the country," clearly referring to hemophilia disease.
Minister Mwalimu who was in the company of the ministry's Permanent Secretary (PS) warned journalists against blowing thing out of proportion and scaring the public - with stories of a 'new disease' that ostensibly requires new strategies when the disease, in fact, is hereditary.
Dr Mpoki Ulisubisya, the ministry's PS, said hemophilia is a rare disorder in which your blood doesn't clot normally because it lacks sufficient blood-clotting proteins (clotting factors).
He said hemophilia also called factor VIII (FVIII) deficiency or classic hemophilia, is a genetic disorder caused by missing or defective factor VIII, a clotting protein, noting that the country had enough experts to handle it and that the public shouldn't get overly alarmed.