- 11 nurses were suspended on suspicion that they got their jobs using forged academic papers.
- The Kenya National Union of Nurses Kakamega branch wants 500 nurses hired.
The Kakamega government plans to recruit health workers to bridge the deficit in county facilities.
Governor Wycliffe Oparanya’s administration has advertised vacant positions for 144 nurses, 26 medical officers and 13 clinical officers. Suitable candidates have been invited to apply before November 8.
Some of the vacancies arose after the county suspended some officers in June for using forged academic certificates. They included 11 nurses.
But the Kenya National Union of Nurses Kakamega branch secretary Renson Bulunya yesterday welcomed the move but added that the number will be a drop in the ocean. He wants the county to hire 500 nurses for the 12 subcounties. They will need 356 more after the planned recruitment. He said adequate staffing is crucial to improving services.
"Currently, we have a shortage of at least 250 specialised nurses across the 12 subcounties and an equal number of general practitioners. We may also need more clinical officers and medical officers to guarantee the people quality and prompt services in line with the President’s Universal Health Coverage (UHC) policy," Bulunya said.
The county could have to hire even more staff as the first phase of the Sh6.5 billion Kakamega Referral Hospital nears completion and will soon be commissioned.
Last week, Governor Oparanya said they will need Sh1.5 billion to employ specialists and undertake capacity building son the referral facility can operate effectively. He spoke when Russian Ambassador toured the 750-bed capacity hospital. The hospital will employ 5,000 people who are expected to contribute to the county’s economy as many of them spend their income within the devolved unit.
Earlier, Oparanya said his administration has been unable to hire specialists as applicants had untenable demands whenever positions were advertised. The county has invested heavily in health, allocating 30 per cent of its annual budget to the sector since 2014.
Completion of the referral hospital will end overreliance on the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret and Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital in Kisumu for specialised care. Residents of the Western region, including Bungoma, Kakamega, Busia and Vihiga, have been travelling outside the region for help.
The facility will also boost medical tourism in the lake region.
(Edited by F'Orieny)