17 June 2019

Kenya: Nurses Ready to Plug Shortage of Anaesthesia Providers

The Council of Governor (CoG) has raised concerns over an acute shortage of anaesthetists in the country.

According to the chair of CoG's Health Committee Mohamed Kuti, there are only 788 anaesthetists in the country, a shortage that compromises on the delivery of quality health services.

In a speech read on his behalf by Nyeri County health minister Ms Racheal Kamau, he said that the ratio of physician anaesthesiologists stands at 0.44 per 100, 000 people against the recommendation of four by the World Health Organization.

"In Kenya we face a huge gap in the number of physician anaesthesia providers. This is one of the reasons non-physician anaesthesia providers are vital to bridge the gap. We still have a long way to go in terms of numbers," said Mr Kuti who is also the Isiolo governor.

NURSE ANAESTHETISTS

Mr Kuti was speaking during the launch of a document on the scope of practice for the Kenya Registered Nurse Anaesthetists (KRNA).

He lauded the KRNA for launching the document saying it is a sound guideline to the practice of nurse anaesthetists in the country.

The Center for Public Health and Development (CPHD) Executive Director Steve Adudans said the programme was set up to meet the shortage.

In counties such as Taita Taveta, patients have had to be taken to Tanzania for surgeries while in Mandera there are only two anaesthetists.

Ministry of Health's director of nursing services Mary Nandili said the new guideline will ensure that nurse anaesthetists are accountable to patients.

"My office commits to pushing for the development and distribution of a scheme of service to further support the entrenchment of this cadre in the health sector by the end of 2019," she said.

NURSE RECOGNITION

KRNA national chairman Samson Miriti said county governments are yet to embrace nurse anaesthetists.

"We hope this will change as we now have definition of roles and responsibilities that will help counties create a job description to use in recruitment process," said Mr Miriti.

The KNRA boss said nurse anaesthetists have been locked out call allowance benefits despite a recommendation by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission in 2015.

"This has not been effected in every county. We are asking for fair compensation for the specialised services we provide," said Mr Miriti.

KRNA was established five years ago and has 200 members in 39 counties.

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