Health staff shortage hits family planning services

Mothers and their infants at Pumwani Maternity Centre. PHOTO | FILE
Mothers and their infants at Pumwani Maternity Centre. PHOTO | FILE 

Lack of qualified personnel and equipment in health facilities are a major hindrance to the uptake and provision of long-term family planning methods, a new report has revealed.

The Kenya Health Facility Assessment released last week shows that both male and female patients cannot access sterilisation, IUDs and implants, even if they wanted to because most staff are not trained on their provision.

Assessment report focused on the availability of family planning and maternal health medicines and services.

The report sheds light on some of the issues that the striking doctors’ grievances. The boycott has crippled the public health sector for more than a week, causing deaths of at least 20 patients.

The doctors want to be trained occasionally and a research fund made available to them, besides the 300 per cent salary raise they pushing for.

“The main reasons why certain family planning methods were not offered in some service delivery points (SDPs) that should be providing them were the lack of trained staff and proper equipment,” reads part of the report.

The report published by the Health Ministry and supported by UNFPA also showed that only 14 per cent of the health facilities sampled had supplies in stock over the three-month period before the survey. Kenya has 10,062 health facilities and the survey was conducted at 641 hospitals in the 47 counties.

The report says 62 per cent of seven lifesaving medicines needed during childbirth were available in hospitals.

The survey blames delays in procurement and supplies for the shortage of essential drugs in public hospitals.

Health PS Nicholas Muraguri said the report highlights challenges and opportunities for boosting service delivery.

“I therefore encourage all stakeholders to make use of these findings to improve the existing policies and programmes for the better health of Kenyans,” he said.