KENYA: Medical camps by foreign doctors stopped over referrals controversy

June 2016 BusinessDaily; Medical camps organised by foreign doctors have been suspended on fears of mistreatment and abetting referral of Kenyans to hospitals abroad.
The Medical Practitioners and Dentist Board says only local doctors and companies with its permission will be allowed to host such camps.

The board says the suspension is informed by rising cases of poor treatment and misdiagnosis as well as using the camps as an avenue to market their products and hospitals for referrals.

Kenyan doctors have accused local hospitals of collaborating with some foreign practitioners to fleece Kenyans of their hard-earned money under the excuse of holding medical camps.

“Medical camping is not like a business of selling mandazi. As a private citizen you have a choice to go to India or anywhere else but we just want to keep our people duly informed,” said the KMPDB chairman George Magoha.

“Only medical camps organised by local doctors, professional associations and institutions who must seek clearance from the KMPDB and respective county governments will be allowed,” said Prof Magoha.

A number of Kenyan hospitals have been holding medical or specialty camps where foreign specialists for diseases, such as cancer and kidney ailments, are invited to train local practitioners and offer consultancy.

“We see names of doctors who have not even bothered to apply for licences; that is bordering on criminality, we are a sovereign state and we will not allow it.”

Consultation fees for the medical camps, which pool patients for specialised care, often range between Sh1,000 to Sh2,000, depending on facility.

Kenyan doctors now reckon that the pooling of patients has resulted in a disproportionate amount of misdiagnosis of ailments with devastating consequences.

Patients have also been influenced to seek treatment for specialised cancer, kidney and other surgical operations abroad, especially in India, in exchange for kickbacks.

India has emerged as a favourite destination for Kenyan patients and other African countries seeking cost-effective health care.

More than 10,000 Kenyans travel abroad each year in search of treatment for various ailments, especially cancer and kidney transplants.

Official statistics show that the overseas treatments cost Kenya about Sh10 billion annually, draining the country’s hard currency reserves.

 

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