Five specialist doctors to replace Cubans in Kakamega

Five local doctors who had travelled out of the country for further studies have returned with specialised credentials to bridge the gap left by Cuban doctors.

Kakamega CECM for Health Services Bernard Wesonga, told The Standard that the five doctors will now take charge of the Oncology and Cardiology units.

The two Cuban doctors headed the units before their contract with the national government ended.

“Our doctors had gone to India, Egypt, Asia, and the US to specialize in their area of interest and have returned. We have an oncologist, cardiologist, pediatric surgeon, neurosurgeon and anesthesiologist,” he said.

Dr Wesonga said that the decision to send the doctors for specialised courses was geared towards increasing the doctor ratio to patients.

He revealed that they intend to take more general doctors abroad to acquire specialized training that will help the county to have enough specialists running critical departments.

The Health CEC argued that the affordable and easiest way of dealing with the shortage of medical personnel was by sponsoring the existing doctors to specialise in key areas.

“Hiring a specialist can cost Sh500,000 to Sh600,000 per month, and hiring one general doctor at an entry-level can cost Sh150,000 to Sh200,000. This is why we are opting to sponsore general practitioners to go for special studies and return to serve us on an affordable budget," he said.

Wesonga announced that the county has allocated Sh300 million to the Health department to hire medics but the absence of the County Public Service Board has affected the recruitment.

“We had advertised more than 130 slots in our first phase of hiring, but after the county assembly impeached members of the County Public Service Board, the process stalled,” he said.

Kakamega county has been operating with one oncologist and a nurse running the Regional Cancer Centre located at Kakamega General Hospital.

The cancer centre launched in 2021, serves Kakamega, Vihiga, Bungoma and Busia County.

The county had two Cuban doctors who were working in the oncology and cardiology departments.

After their exit, the oncology unit in the county has been depending on the oncologist, a lecturer in the school of medicine at Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology.