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358 American doctors licensed to practise in Kenyan clinics

Health secretary Sicily Kariuki. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Health secretary Sicily Kariuki. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

American doctors make the biggest number of foreign medics licensed to operate in Kenya, a newly-published report shows in a revelation that is likely to shift focus away from the 100 Cuban doctors expected in the country later this month.

The Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board’s (KMPDB) 2018 breakdown of the nationalities of foreign doctors shows that there were 1,019 foreign doctors licensed to practice in Kenya by end of March, 358 of them American.

Tenwek Hospital in Bomet County accounted for the bulk of the US doctors with 149, AIC Kijabe Hospital had 86, 42 at Ampath Brase Clinic (17), while PCEA Chogoria Clinic and AIC Cure International Hospital had 15 each.

Daniel Yumbya, the KMPDB chief executive, however clarified that the number of American doctors at Tenwek fluctuates because they work on short contracts.

“The number is high because those are the ones licensed to have worked there, some work for as little as two weeks and leave the country,” he said.

He also said Kenyatta National Hospital, Kisumu’s Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Hospital and Eldoret’s Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital have two licensed foreign doctors each, while nine American medics are registered to work at the Thika Referral Hospital.

The data also indicates that 27 foreign dentists have been licensed to work in Kenya.

India has the second highest number of licensed foreign doctors at 143 most of who work at Mediheal Diagnostic and Fertility Centre.

Congo has the highest number of licensed African medics in Kenya with 45 doctors spread across various mission hospitals.

The list does not include the 100 Cuban doctors who are expected in the country on May 28 when the total number of foreign doctors will rise to 1,039.

Kenya has 11,334 registered doctors, 6,394 of them active, in the 2018 register. There are also 1,302 registered dentists out of who only 683 are retained in this year’s register.

This number of foreign and Kenyan doctors leaves the ratio of a medical doctor to patient at 6,545.

The highest number of medical doctors are licensed in Nairobi (3,072) besides the 856 dental medicine practitioners.

Uasin Gishu has 316 medical officers and 29 dentists while Mombasa has 333 medical doctors and 47 dental officers. Tana River has the lowest number with only five medical officers and one dentist.

Kenya still has a shortage of specialists with 1,340 specialists in Nairobi, 139 in Mombasa and 102 in Kiambu. Counties like Wajir, Mandera Marsabit and Vihiga have no specialists.

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