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Nakuru hospital strained as doctors leave for further studies

Tuesday June 25 2019

Doctors at a past function in Nairobi. A

Doctors at a past function in Nairobi. A shortage of doctors has hit Nakuru Level V Hospital after at least 60 medics left to pursue further studies. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

ERIC MATARA
By ERIC MATARA
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One of South Rift’s largest referral hospital, Nakuru Level V Hospital, is reeling from a shortage of doctors after at least 60 of them left to pursue post-graduate studies, the Nation has learnt.

Their exit to pursue advanced studies has affected service delivery at the hospital which serves Nakuru County health authorities on Tuesday admitted that the medics exit to pursue Masters Programmes has hit service delivery.

The hospital serves Nakuru, Bomet, Baringo, Narok, Kericho, Samburu, Laikipia and Nyandarua Counties.

'WORKFORCE STRAINED'

But the county’s Health minister, Dr Gichuki Kariuki, said the hospital’s workforce is also strained because of a high number of referrals.

“It is true the entire Nakuru Level Five Hospital is strained in terms of workforce and there is need to increase human resource. Remember it serves more than five counties from across the region. Sixty doctors left to pursue Masters degrees, six others also left in search for greener pastures. The exit further reduced workforce at the facility,” said Mr Kariuki.

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But the health minister said the county plans to employ more doctors.

“Once the [Nakuru] County Public Service Board becomes operational, we shall employ more medics for all cadres, including nurses and specialists,” said Mr Kariuki.

BOARD SUSPENDED

The county’s public service board was suspended for 45 days to allow Governor Lee Kinyanjui investigate allegations of gross misconduct levelled against members, staff and secretariat.

“I cannot easily take leave because of the strained workforce. I have to contend with long working hours and sometimes handle an entire ward,” one of the caregivers at the hospital revealed.

Another source said the hospital’s maternity wing, Margaret Kenyatta Mother Baby Wing, has also been hard hit by the medic shortage.

The state-of-the-art maternity wing, which was built at a cost of Sh450 million, is the biggest maternity facility in Rift Valley.

After the 250-bed maternity wing was opened, many of the doctors posted there came from the same hospital.

And with the increasing deliveries, the hospital workers have been forced to work longer hours, said a nurse who sought anonymity.

Another source told the Nation that sometimes patients are left in the hands of unqualified trainee caregivers.

But the hospital superintendent, Dr Joseph Mburu, downplayed the matter saying the facility is performing well.

“For instance, we record at least 50 deliveries daily at the Margaret Kenyatta Mother Baby Wing. The facility has seven obstetricians, four interns and 98 nurses,” said Mr Mburu.