Report: Nyanza suffers acute shortage of doctors

The whole Nyanza region is currently being served by less than 600 doctors. [James Omoro, Standard]

Public health facilities in Nyanza region have an acute shortage of specialist doctors, with Homa Bay County being the most grossly affected, a new report shows.

According to the report by the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentist Union (KMPDU), Homa Bay County has only two dentists against a population of about 1.1 million people.

The report further shows that the county has only 10 pharmacists.

According to the report compiled by KMPDU Nyanza branch Secretary Aggrey Orwenyo, some crucial departments are not covered round the clock because of the shortage of doctors.

"These are tax-funded public hospitals that have to be equipped without excuse. The government must up its game and make sure Kenyans receive better health services without compromise," said Dr Orwenyo.

The report says Homa Bay needs to employ 443 medical officers, 247 pharmacists, 167 dentists and 167 specialists to meet the World Health Organisation and Ministry of Health standards.

Other counties in the region are also grappling with few doctors and medical personnel.

In Siaya, the report indicates that the county government has employed 44 doctors who serve a population of 993,183 people as per the 2019 Kenya Population and Housing Census.


Among these are 19 medical officers, 10 pharmacists, six dentists and nine specialists. According to the WHO standards, the county has a deficit of 949 doctors.

According to the Ministry of Health's Human Resources for Health Norms and Standards, the deficit of doctors in the county is estimated at 943 - 573 medical officers, 172 pharmacists, 64 dentists and 134 specialists.

Migori County has a total of 64 doctors; 35 medical officers, 14 pharmacists, three dentists and 13 specialists serving a population of 1,116,436 people. Thus, the Migori County doctor-population ratio is approximately 1 to 17,000.

In comparison with the WHO recommendations, Migori County has a deficit of over 1,150 doctors. Also, according to the MOH Human Resources for Health Norms and Standards, the deficit is estimated at 1,017; that is, 633 medical officers, 176 pharmacists, 59 dentists and 149 specialists.

With approximately 605,576 people, Nyamira County has a total of 62 doctors; 33 medical officers, 10 pharmacists, four dentists, 15 specialists and a 1 to 10,000 doctor-population ratio. It has a deficit of over 540 doctors.

Kisii and Kisumu counties have the highest number of doctors in the region at 185 each. Kisii has 70 medical officers, 28 pharmacists, three dentists and 54 specialists.

Kisii County has a population of over 1,250,000 people, according to the 2019 census.

The county, therefore, has a doctor-population ratio of 1 to 6,000.

The county administration needs to employ a total of 662 doctors as medical officers, pharmacists, dentists and specialists to meet the WHO and MOH standards.

Kisumu, on the other hand, has 96 medical officers, 39 pharmacists, 16 dentists, and 38 specialists.

The county has a population of approximately 1,155,574 persons. Thus, the doctor-population ratio is approximately 1 to 6,500.

According to the 2019 Census, the Nyanza region, with six counties, has a population of over six million people.

The whole region is currently being served by less than 600 doctors. This makes it a ratio of one doctor to 10,000 people against WHO's recommendation of one doctor for 1,000 people.