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WHY the quality of healthcare is poor in Embu public hospitals

 Embu Ward Representatives have vowed to stop public medical personnel from owning or working in private clinics to ensure quality health services for the county populace.

Embu Deputy Speaker Steve Simba presiding over a County Assembly plenary sitting. Photo/COURTESY

The MCAs, led by Deputy Speaker Steve Simba wondered why most of the consultant doctors were not attending to patients at the Embu Level Five Hospital despite earning hundreds of thousands in monthly salaries, but instead sneak into their private hospitals to earn an extra shilling.

Speaking during a special Assembly sitting, the Runyenjes Central MCA revealed that the County Referral Hospital had about 65 doctors and more than 40 Clinical Officers, yet none could be found at the hospital during working hours. Simba further asserted that the County Assembly would push for sacking of truant medical personnel.

Simba regretted that some medical personnel were paid up to KSh 350,000 for working for only a few hours in a month. He said the same doctors who deny people services at public hospitals are the same people who treat them in the private clinics they refer them to.

County Assembly Health Committee Chairman Muturi Mwombo said he was ready to sponsor a Bill to bar doctors in public hospitals from working at or operate private health facilities because they earn nonpracticing allowances.

Muturi who is also the MCA for Ruguru-Ngandori Ward challenged his counterparts to support his move to curb double employment by doctors, pointing out that the services at public hospitals are compromised so that patients seek medication in private clinics owned by the same medics.

Minority Leader Masters Mwaniki of Kiambere Ward observed that Embu County had employed many qualified doctors but said they were absentees. He lamented that the County Assembly always took the brunt of poor healthcare services due to the absconding doctors and urged for urgent intervention.

On her part, Nominated MCA Margaret Lorna Kariuki said she would support the legislative proposal to have private hospitals employing their independent staff because doctors from public health facilities are deliberately watering services down and diverting drugs bought using public funds to their private clinics.

Kariuki challenged the health workers that feel discontented with the salaries they earn in public hospitals to quit and fully venture in private practice instead of mishandling innocent patients so that they can rush to private clinics.

The leaders sought to distance themselves from the problems dogging the county health sector by confirming that they had allocated adequate funds for drugs and salaries for medical personnel. The Ward Reps at the same time stated that they would summon top officials in the health department to explain to the House why health services were collapsing.


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