5,500 doctors needed

Wambui Hungi (left), Grace Ngari (centre) and her mother, Ms Joyce Ngari, arrive in the city yesterday from Nyahururu, where they had joined other family members for Easter celebrations.

Kenya must employ an additional 5,500 doctors and nurses to improve health services.

The shortage of medical personnel had adversely affected the health of Kenyans, Dr Otieno Nyunya, the chairman of the Eldoret chapter of the Kenya Medical Association, said yesterday. He gave as an example the 60 to 78 per cent increase in infant mortality rate. 

Dr Nyunya said while a major contributor to the rise is widespread poverty, lack of quality health care had worsened the situation.

He said more nurses and doctors must be employed to enable the Government offer better services. He was speaking in Eldoret ahead of the 34th Annual Scientific Conference to be attended by officials from the World Health Organisation (WHO), World Bank and ministry of Health medical practitioners, including provincial medical officers (PMOs).

Budgetary allocation

Medical Hospital and Fertility Centre has contributed Sh500,000 for the conference.

He said due to little budgetary allocation, demographic figures released in 2003 showed that in Nyanza Province, the mortality rate stood at 133 per 1000 births,  followed by North Eastern at 91. The rates for Western, Coast, Rift Valley and Eastern were 80, 78, 61 and 56 per 1000 births respectively. Central province has the lowest mortality rate at 44 per 1000 births.


"What has contributed to this mortality rate is poverty and the ministry of Health must work closely with the ministry of Planning to improve health standards," he said. 

He lamented that the country allocated only nine per cent of its gross domestic product to the health sector although at least 15 per cent was the recommendation of the Abuja Declaration. He said Uganda and Tanzania allocated about 11 to 15 per cent.