Kenya Medical Association president, Mr. Simon Kigondu has called for the formation of a Health Services Commission to support the deployment of doctors and address areas that have a shortage of specialists.
According to a recent human resources for health policy brief by the Ministry of Health, Kenya has a shortage gap of more than 3,000 medical officers, with the required number being slightly over 5,000.
Many specialized areas that suffer deficits include: 1,000 dentists and over 2,000 consultants are needed, close to 5, 000 public health officers, more than 1,000 and 4,000 pharmacists and pharm technologists respectively, 4,000 specialist clinical officers and about 10,000 general clinical officers, among other cadres like laboratory technicians and technologists, nurses and community health workers.
“Healthcare is crucial in the governance system and a country’s development agenda. When people have good health, they are more productive,” Kigondu noted.
Speaking during the start of a two-day medical camp in Shinyalu Constituency, Kigondu also urged County governments to employ more doctors for Kenyans to access quality healthcare services.
Dr. Mbau Gitau from the Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya (PSK) said that 80 percent of the drugs used in the medical camp are locally manufactured calling for proper policy implementation to support local manufacturing of drugs.
“We want proper mechanisms for local manufacturers to produce the right amount of drugs, with the right cost,” he noted, urging residents to seek medication when they fall sick.
On her part, Kakamega County Woman representative Elsie Muhanda asked professionals from Western Kenya to give back to the community through various initiatives like medical camps.
Muhanda urged residents to take advantage of medical camps to seek treatment and health check-ups.
The medical camp was organized by Mr. George Muruli who works in the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government functions at the headquarters.
Muruli said the camp was also supported by the Principal Secretaries (PSs) for Culture and Heritage Josephta Mukobe, Principal Secretary for Energy Maj. Gen. Gordon Kihalangwa, PS for University Education and Research Amb. Simon Nabukwesi, Director General of Immigration and Citizen Services Alexander Muteshi, a senior Deputy Secretary in the office of the President, Dickson Makotsi among others.
Muruli noted the camp is a relief to the majority of residents in the area who face challenges in seeking medical services.
He added the medical camp also serves as an example to politicians seeking leadership to incorporate such approaches in the healthcare policies and manifestos.
Dr. Hezron Omolo, the lead doctor in the event, said they are determined, through medical camps, to support Kenyans to access quality healthcare services without too much expenditure.
“This can be done when we focus on preventive medicine that thwarts our people from getting severe diseases,” he noted.
By 3pm, on Saturday, the medics had served 1019 patients in the medical camp and more turned up in the evening and with a large number expected to turn up on Sunday.
Silvas Lisamula an aspirant for the Shinyalu Constituency said that medical camps should be held as many times as possible.
The National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF), Huduma Centre through Huduma Mashinani, Kenya Red Cross Society, Kakamega County Government are among the institutions that supported the exercise.