Doctors
Doctors

Kenneth Otieno is busy attending to his patients at a clinic he operates in Kisumu County, Western Kenya when we visit Wednesday.

Doctors
Doctors

It is one year since Otieno, a radiologist, resigned from a government hospital to open his own clinic. Otieno said he does not regret quitting the public service to run his own health facility.

“Here, I attend to my patients without frustrations. I quit because of poor pay, deplorable working conditions and uncertainty in career progression. This was after being re-deployed to work in county government,” Otieno said.

The medic added that as opposed to the government hospital where patients shunned the facility because of lack of essential drugs and specialists, his clinic is now gaining popularity with patients flocking the clinic because of quality health care provision.

Wilfrida Apondi, a medical doctor based in the neighboring Homa Bay County, said she resigned because of delay in salaries and poor payment. Apondi said that she would go for several months without salaries.

“I don’t regret quitting public service because it opened more opportunities to interact with people and impart knowledge,” said Apondi who is lecturing a medical course at a local university in the region, besides working at a private hospital.

She said as opposed to public service where her salary delayed for six months, she now gets her salary every month without fail.

Otieno and Apondi are among the 2,000 doctors who have quit public service because of poor working conditions and delay in salaries.

Most doctors, according to the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU), have resigned because of discrimination by counties, deplorable working conditions and poor payment.

KMPDU Secretary-General Ouma Oluga said a total of 100,000 government health workers have resigned in the 2013/2014 financial year with 74,000 others following last year.

Other reasons for the exodus are poor human resource management, tribalism and career stagnation. The doctors have continuously asked the government to centralize the human resource management.

Oluga said it is evident that counties lack capacity to manage the health care system going by the challenges witnessed in the sector.

He added that 420,000 people die annually because of preventable diseases and lack of specialists in the government hospitals.

“It is absurd that people are dying of preventable diseases like cholera and malaria yet these are diseases that can be managed easily. There are no drugs in hospitals and this is the reason why people are dying,” Oluga said, noting that problems are persistent as currently, health workers in Nakuru County have downed their tools because of delay in July salaries.

“Most of the doctors have not been paid their salaries for four months,” Oluga said.

Kisumu Governor Jack Ranguma, who is the health committee chairman in the Council of Governors, attributed the delay in salaries to failure to disburse funds to counties on time by national government.

KMPDU chairman Samuel Oroko earlier said Kenya had not done enough to save the sector and called for more budgetary allocation as agreed in the Abuja Declaration of April 2001.

The declaration required African countries to allocate at least 15 percent of their GDP to health.
The government allocated 51 billion U.S. dollars for health care sector. Out of the amount, 30 million dollars will go towards paying doctors, clinicians, nurses and medical interns. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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