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Shame of Counties that reject doctors on ethnic grounds

Counties have rejected a total of 700 doctors posted to their hospitals even as the country grapples with the shortage of health workers.

The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union on Friday said the health workers were rejected because they were not born in the counties where they were sent to.

The union accused the devolved units of valuing ethnicity and nepotism more than the health of their people.

In an interview with Saturday Nation, the union’s secretary-general Ouma Oluga said despite acute shortages of health workers, ethnicity and nepotism were rife in the devolved units.

“There is a big problem when counties with no doctors like Kajiado reject doctors. Counties are looking for their own yet there are no doctors of their own,” he said.

According to him, Mombasa rejected five yet they had a shortage of 69 doctors, Murang’a rejected 14 with a shortage of 56, Narok rejected 22 yet they have a shortage of 78, Baringo rejected 19 with a shortage of 105 while Kajiado rejected 18.

Kajiado, he said, had advertised for doctors but had not received any applications.


Dr Oluga said a number of counties had accepted doctors from outside but were paying them less than their local counterparts with the same qualifications and work.

These include Bomet, Elgeyo Marakwet and Kisii. Others are Migori, Nairobi, Kiambu, Trans Nzoia, Laikipia, Kericho, Kilifi, Marsabit and Tharaka Nithi.

“Bomet is paying their locals at Job Group Q and non-locals at Job Group M for the same work, same qualification, same time,” he added.

Many other counties including Kirinyaga, Nyeri, Kisumu, Homa Bay, Bungoma, Nakuru, Makueni and Wajir accepted doctors from other regions but had not paid them their April and May salaries.

Dr Oluga also warned  that health workers will reject  the Senate’s proposed new health policy that will require doctors and nurses in the counties to sign long-term contracts. He blamed the Senate for the healthcare crisis in county governments.

Senators are seeking measures to stop county health workers from quitting their jobs soon after employment.

On Thursday, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Devolved Government, Mr Kipchumba Murkomen, said fleeing health workers were a great concern, adding that it was important to ensure they worked harder and longer for counties.