SHORTFALL OF STAFF

Notion that Medicine is ‘fancy’ hurts our already ailing system

It discourages learners, makes them feel they are not the select few 'made' for the profession

In Summary

• Doctor to patient ratio is way below WHO's recommended 1;1,000. 

• As much as the call to youths to pursue their areas of skill in TVETs is commendable, state needs more medical personnel. 

Doctors from the Kenya Society of Endoscopic Surgeons conduct modern surgery on a patient
FEW PERSONNEL: Doctors from the Kenya Society of Endoscopic Surgeons conduct modern surgery on a patient
Image: FILE
Patients wait to be attended to by doctors at the St Mary's Hospital on May 13, 2017
NOT ENOUGH PERSONNEL: Patients wait to be attended to by doctors at the St Mary's Hospital on May 13, 2017
Image: FILE

In bringing to the fore the vagaries of the 8-4-4 system, a good number of professionals have always given the examples of many students who join Schools of Medicine in Kenyan universities then drop out.

They then reason that Kenya not only requires a system not premised on national exams but also one which allows students the freewill to choose careers based on their abilities.

This argument has given rise to calls for young people to think outside the formal employment box to join TVETs, for self-employment. However, while we don’t want people to be obsessed with ‘fancy’ courses like Medicine, it escapes our attention that by doing so, we are inadvertently deepening the country’s healthcare crisis at a time when every effort should be made to resuscitate it.

I am not a medic, neither am I a medical student, but in a country where doctor to patient ratio is a worrying at 1:16,000, way below the World Health Organization  recommended ratio of 1: 1,000, and with wanting facilities, anyone would expect the government’s efforts and awareness to be aimed at increasing medical personnel.

It would be imprudent if our idea of improving the health sector is to build magnificent hospitals and bring facilities while no effort is made to train the personnel. One of Kenya’s biggest challenges today remains a failed healthcare system. What we need is an affordable public health system, which can be realised only through the government’s commitment.

No one would mind if we have a health professional in every home in the country. Forget about the lack of money, this country has enough money. Our only problem is that we have made looting and inefficacy a national pass-time. 

 

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