Scarcity of anesthetists hits Kenya

Kiambu County

Public hospitals are facing a severe shortage of anesthetists, a situation that is putting the lives of countless Kenyans at risk, a medical practitioner has said.

Thika medical superintendent Jonah Mwangi cited the recent death of a patient at the Gatundu District Hospital, saying the shortage was to blame for the death.

Speaking during the launch of an ICT project at Thika Level Five Hospital, Dr Mwangi appealed to the Government to hire more anesthetists and other medical personnel, as the current staff are operating beyond capacity.

Anesthetists are specially trained to administer the drug (anaesthesia) that causes loss of body sensation especially during surgery.

The Medical Services Permanent Secretary, Mary Ngari, who attended the launch, said the Government would hire more medical officers, clinical officers and nurses to mitigate the problem.

She added that the ministry had already sent letters of deployment to interns who have been home awaiting deployment since last year.

Lack of funds

“The delay was because there were no funds for their deployment. They have now been factored in the supplementary estimate books and will be reporting to their postings on April 1,” she said.

Pressing on the need for health facilities to embrace information technology, the PS noted that the Thika hospital’s revenue had increased since 2008.

She said revenue at the hospital shot from Sh53 million in 2008-2009 to Sh84 million in the following year, thanks to technology, which helped management to monitor transactions, in addition to other hospital operations.

According to Dr Mwangi, the Level Five hospital serves a population of over a million people and the revenue has helped in improving infrastructure.

He however added that the hospital’s resources are still strained.

There are plans to convert the facility to a teaching and referral hospital.

An anaesthetic machine

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