'NOBODY TO SPEAK FOR THEM'

Anaesthetists decry neglect, poor working conditions

In Summary

• Muthangaya says the achievement of universal health coverage requires the input of all health workers, anaesthetists included

• They want county government to train more and increase their salaries

National Association of Clinical Officer Anaesthetists Fenwick Muthangaya and Werunga Kituyi from Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital
UHC ACHIEVEMENT: National Association of Clinical Officer Anaesthetists Fenwick Muthangaya and Werunga Kituyi from Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital
Image: JOHN NALIANYA

Anaesthetists have complained of neglect, low pay and poor working conditions.

They want the government to increase their pay, provide frequent training and employ more anaesthetists.

National Association of Clinical Officer Anaesthetists (NACOA) chairman Fenwick Muthangya said anaesthetists play an integral role in the health system.

“Nobody speaks for them, yet this is an integral part of medicine, especially surgery,” Muthangya said during their national conference in Bungoma town. 

He said the achievement of universal health coverage requires the input of all health workers, anaesthetists included.  The chairman said there are few anaesthetists in public health facilities.

“Many people have been forced to go for minor surgeries far from their home areas just because some of these facilities have no anaesthetists,” he said. The problem can be resolved by employing more anaesthetists, he said.

He urged county governments to invest in educating anaesthetists. “There are new trends emerging in the field of anaesthesia and if counties do not invest in frequent training of the staff, they will be left behind in modern medicine,” Muthangaya said.

Dr Kituyi Werunga of the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, said anaesthesia is a field that cannot be ignored. He said even the best surgeons in the world depend on anaesthetists during surgery.

“It is unfortunate that in this country anaesthetists are not taken seriously. They are as crucial as the surgeons who do the surgery,” he said

He said the morale of anaesthetists has been affected by poor remuneration, among other poor working conditions.