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Cuban specialists to reduce number of patient referrals

HEALTH & SCIENCEBy STANDARD TEAM | Mon,Jun 18 2018 00:00:00 EAT
By STANDARD TEAM | Mon,Jun 18 2018 00:00:00 EAT

 Cuban doctors arrive at JKIA on June 7, 2018. [photo/Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Counties in western Kenya are preparing to receive the Cuban doctors deployed to work in the region.

Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong said the county was expecting a family physician and a nephrologist, adding that everything was in place to receive the expatriates.

"We don’t have specialists in those two areas and it will be a relief to have the Cuban doctors filling that gap,” Mr Ojaamong told The Standard in a telephone interview.

He said the county settled on a nephrologist to help lower treatment costs for kidney patients who had to travel nearly 200km to the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) in Eldoret.

“We are optimistic that the doctors' arrival will help to reduce the number of deaths from complications that can be contained without having to refer patients to hospitals outside the county,” Ojaamong said.

Kakamega County will receive a family physician and an intensivist, who specialises in critical care medicine.

Health Executive Rachel Okumu said the two specialists would help to ease congestion at the Busia General and Referral Hospital.

“We expect more patients since most of them may opt to go to our local referral facility as opposed to going all the way to MTRH or Kisumu (County). The new doctors' presence gives us a major boost,” she said.

Family physician

Mbale Referral Hospital Medical Superintendent Ayodi Lusigi said Vihiga would get a cardiologist and a family physician.

“Referring patients to other health facilities in the country will now be a thing of the past. The medics will also train our doctors in new technologies in the treatment of different ailments,” said Dr Lusigi.

Bungoma was still working on final logistics to accommodate a specialist in urology and an expert in family medicine.

“While they are still at the Kenya School of Government for their two-week training, we are working fast to put everything in order before they arrive," said Director of Medical Services Stephen Mutoro.

Mr Mutoro said the Bungoma Referral Hospital handled more than 5,000 patients a day. He said with the Cuban doctors, the hospital would be in a better position to provide residents with improved medical care.

Other medics expected in the region include oncologists, dermatologists, orthopaedic and trauma specialists, general surgeons, and plastic and re-constructive surgeons.

The doctors will be paid based on Civil Service Job Group S, under the Salaries and Remuneration Commission guidelines.

The deal between Kenya and Cuba was reached on March 18 but did not go down well with local doctors, who vowed to walk out of their work stations in protest.

[Story by Nathan Ochunge, Ignatius Odanga and Raphael Wanjala]

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