Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Kenya facing acute shortage of nurses: Mugo

By NATION TEAM

The country has run out of nurses, according to a statement issued in Parliament on Wednesday.

It is now pondering hiring laboratory technicians and pharmacists, Public Health Minister Beth Mugo, said, adding, the ministry had sought authority from the Public Service Commission (PSC) to convert the positions available for nurses to other professionals in the health sector.

“There is a serious shortage of nurses in a number of constituencies. You will recall that we were given funds to employ 20 nurses in each constituency last year and 15 this year, but they are hardly available in a number of constituencies.

“I am seeking authority from the PSC to allow us source nurses from constituencies that have a surplus, but they are also not there,” she told Parliament.

However, the minister told the House that intern nurses who were interviewed and short-listed by her ministry five months ago, will soon be invited by the PSC for posting to various public health institutions.

She attributed the shortage to the sharp rise in the number of health facilities in the country built through the Constituency Development Fund.

The minister made the revelations while responding to a question by Kuresoi MP Zakayo Cheruiyot (ODM) who sought to know when the government would post more medical personnel to Ndoinet, Kiptororo and Kuresoi health facilities, which had been overstretched by the influx of former settlers of Mau forest.

Mrs Mugo said only five nurses and two clinical officers were employed in Kuresoi due to the shortage of trained personnel in the constituency.

Mosop MP David Koech (ODM) demanded to know when the intern nurses would be posted.

Kiharu lawmaker Muturi Mwangi (PNU) asked the minister to explain the policy that is in place to cater for dispensaries that have been upgraded to sub-district hospitals.

Mrs Mugo said her ministry has steadily maintained the supply of medical kits and drugs to all health facilities throughout the country.

“Those dispensaries that have been upgraded will receive medical kits befitting their status through the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency,” she said.

“They will also receive additional clinical officers,” she added.

Reported by Njeri Rugene, Caroline Wafula and Lucas Barasa

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