189 county doctors deployed to quarantine and isolation centres

Health Ministry Chief Administrative Secretary Mercy Mwangangi. IMAGE COURTESY

The Senate Health Committee has raised concern over 189 doctors currently serving the national government at the expense of county governments.

The doctors who are pursuing specialised training are employees of the county governments but have been deployed by the Ministry of Health instead of returning to their employers to help fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

Nominated Senator Petronila Were queried why counties should continue paying the doctors who are away from work when there is a national fund managed by the Ministry of Health to cater for their training.

Nyamira Senator Okong’o Omogeni said there are 18 doctors from his county who are out on further studies but there is no guarantee the county will benefit from the training when they complete the courses.

“Is there a bonding for the doctors to serve the counties for three years after graduating? Counties need to benefit from the training,” he said.

However, Health Ministry Chief Administrative Secretary Mercy Mwangangi defended the Ministry, saying the doctors are part of those serving in 60 quarantine and isolation centres across the country.

Some of the doctors took part in the evacuation of passengers who were recently flown back to the country aboard Kenya Airways flights from India, China and the UK.

“We have 18 protocols guiding Covid-19. The doctors reprogrammed themselves quickly and responded to the situation,” Dr Mwangangi said.

Most of the passengers from India aboard a Kenya Airways flight had gone for specialised treatment but were stranded after Prime Minister Narendra Modi issued a total lockdown directive on March 25 in a bid to stop Coronavirus from spreading.

The doctors are pursuing specialised training in medical schools and teaching hospitals such as Kenyatta National Hospital and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret.

The CAS told the committee chaired by Senator Michael Mbito that it takes six to seven years for a doctor to specialise in diagnosing and treating a disease.

“There are counties that do not have a single specialist. Most of them have expressed the need to train and retain the doctors,” she said.