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Experts call for change of tack in medical training

 President Uhuru Kenyatta being received by Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentist Council CEO Daniel Yumbya at the Health Workforce Conference 2022. [Courtesy]

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe has called for the integration of professional societies within the Health sector to bring in new ideas and add value to training and policy. 

Kagwe said the sector has more than 20 professional organisations that should engage policymakers more towards improved service delivery.

“We have to think about creating professional bodies that can engage policymakers in a comprehensive manner to have their ideas integrated into decision-making,” Kagwe said at the just-concluded international health conference on curriculum harmonisation.  

During the conference, doctors proposed a downward review of the cost of pursuing medicine training at the university to allow more students to train.

Kenyatta University Teaching Referral and Research Hospital board chairperson Olive Mugenda said the cost of pursuing medicine had locked out many Kenyans.

“The cost of training medics is high. We should consider how the cost can come down so that those who want to do medicine can pursue it,” said Prof. Mugenda. 

Prof Mugenda said Kenyatta University was the first institution to launch the Integrated Molecular Imaging Center (IMTC) and doctors should visit the centre to learn about innovations at the university. The former Kenyatta University Vice-Chancellor said the curriculum in most universities were similar and standardized. 

“We create good doctors but not innovators and researchers,” she said

Dr Eunice Ndirangu, the chairperson of Nurses of Kenya said nurses should be involved in research because they are the primary data collectors. 

“The biggest gap is failure to fully involve nurses in research. They are the primary data collectors in health institutions. Nurses put in a lot of data on a daily basis but we don’t want it said,” said Dr Ndirangu. 

The President of the Association of Medical Councils of Africa Kgosi Letlape said the lack of better remuneration for doctors had led to the high cost of healthcare.

“I have been in the private profession for 30 years and the hardest thing has been to negotiate payment with patients,” said Letlape.

Letlape urged the doctors to respect each other and collaborate in the delivery of health services to the people.

“We are focusing on UHC but we don’t talk about access to facilities. Someone has to walk 400 miles to access medical care,” said Letlape.