State to pay student doctors, MPs propose

National Assembly Health Committee member James Nyikal at the Kenyatta National Hospital, when the team toured the hospital on 31/1/18. [Beverlyne Musili,Standard]

Salaries of county doctors pursing studies could soon be paid by the national government and not counties, if a parliamentary proposal on the issue passes.

The proposal, which was part of the resolutions of this year’s Kenya Health Forum, has been informed by the staffing challenges in counties.

Seme MP James Nyikal said it is improper that counties continue paying salaries of the doctors when they are not working in county hospitals.

“Why would a county continue paying the doctor when it is not guaranteed that the doctor will go back to work in the same county once he is done with studies?” posed Dr Nyikal.

Nyikal who is also a member of the Health Committee in the National Assembly, is one of those pushing for the doctors' salaries to be paid by the national government.

Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH), Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital are the main facilities where student doctors take up their residency, since they are best equipped to train them.

The two hospitals also have long standing partnerships with the University of Nairobi School of Medicine and Moi University which makes it easy for the doctors to get residency slots.

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Residency is the period which a doctor who has completed medical school gets practical training on areas of specialisation such as surgery, pediatrics and oncology.

Due to the shortage of doctors, KNH has been forced to depend heavily on resident doctors who take up over 80 per cent of the workload at the facility.

Senate Health Committee Chairperson Michael Mbito said county hospitals are being starved of medical expertise and still being forced to pay the doctors.

He gave examples of Kisii, Kilifi and Laikipia which have 35 doctors away on study leave.

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Seme MP James NyikalNational Assembly Health Committee