June 2016 DailyNation; The vast Wajir County has no resident medical consultant and relies on a visiting medic, Governor Ahmed Abdullahi Mohamad has said.
Mr Mohamad said the lack of medical experts ready to work in the county, which occupies 10 per cent of Kenya’s land mass and is the third biggest after Marsabit and Turkana, remains a major hurdle in efforts to provide quality health services.
This is despite efforts by the county government to put up facilities and install modern equipment.
Governor Mohamad said the county, which has 17 doctors, had given up on advertising for consultants.
“We have been advertising for positions of resident medical consultants without any feedback. We have had to devise a system where we compile all issues that require a consultant, who is then invited to look into them,” Mr Mohamad told the Nation at his office.
According to the county boss, the regional government at times ends up airlifting patients to Kenyatta National Hospital.
He said the county had faced difficulties in attracting anaesthetists to facilitate surgical procedures.
“We have trained four anaesthetists who have been posted to Wajir and Habaswein hospitals. The county government has introduced a retention programme for medical workers. We are ensuring that all deserving workers are promoted on time,” the governor said.
Mr Abdullahi’s administration is sponsoring local students to pursue medical courses even at private universities. They will work in the county on completing their studies.
It has also constructed a Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC) campus in Wajir Town at a cost of Sh200 million to ensure continuous availability of health workers.
Mr Mohamad said the KMTC campus, which was officially opened by President Uhuru Kenyatta, will admit the first lot of 48 students in September.
The campus comprises boarding facilities, lecture halls and a dining hall. “We hope to increase the number of locals training in nursing given the high turnover of medical workers,” he added. He further said his administration had helped increase the number of nutritionists from three to 39.
He said the region was hit by a shortage of health workers when 37 dispensaries closed down. This was before the advent of devolution.
“When we came into office in 2013, we started reopening the health facilities. We have built 34 new dispensaries and 42 maternity centres. We have increased the number of health workers from 240 to more than 670,” he said.
County Executive for Health Rukia Maalim said the construction of new maternity centres had seen delivery by skilled health personnel rise from 18 per cent to 50 per cent.
Ms Maalim, County Director of Health Dahir Somou and Public and Sanitation Chief Officer Abdullahi Hassan said the county government procures drugs worth about Sh150 million annually from the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency.