REPUBLIC OF KENYA

Govt. to rein in on quacks through mobile solution

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NAIROBI, Kenya, 23 November 2016 – A mobile based solution that will allow Kenyans to verify the credibility of doctors and health facilities through an SMS short code and mobile application will be rolled out in the country early next year.

The move is expected to rein in on quacks and any illegal medical facilities, to ensure that Kenyans right to health is safeguarded. The mobile application permits users to search for health facilities, locate them on Google Maps and confirm whether or not they have been accredited by the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board (KMPDB).

It also allows them to key in details of their location before the system guides them on the nearest accredited health facility in case of an emergency. The application will run together with the SMS Short Code that will help Kenyans to confirm their doctors’ credentials by sending in their names or registration numbers to 20547.

Speaking in Nairobi on Wednesday, KMPDB Chief Executive Officer Daniel Yumbya said that the mobile solution dubbed iCare was currently being tested and will be available on the android platform after the launched.

“The software connects to the Regulatory Human Resource Information System (rHRIS) based at the Board and the Master Health Facility List System at the Ministry of Health as a source of data for both the doctors and health facilities,” he explained.

Mr. Yumbya added that the Board in collaboration with the Ministry of Health has adopted a raft of stringent measures aimed at ensuring that Kenyans are protected from unqualified medical practitioners.

Among these measures are legal reforms that have been undertaken by the Ministry of Health and the Board to protect Kenyans from exploitation. These reforms include laws that regulate the professional fees; advertising of practitioners and health facilities; medical camps and the ability of medical practitioners and dentists to practice.

“These reforms were gazetted by Health Cabinet Secretary Dr. Cleopa Mailu four months ago. And to add to these you now have the mobile phone solution. If you send in your doctor’s names to the 20547 short code, you will receive a message that will tell you whether or not he or she is active and also what they specialized in. This service is already active,” he said.

Mr. Yumbya urged Kenyans to officially register complaints against medical practitioners with the board. This can be done by filling in a complaint form that is available on the KMPDB website or by sending an email to ceo@kenyamedicalboard.org.

He added that the number of quacks has significantly reduced in the last 5 years. Two weeks ago, the Board carried out a joint inspection of 270 facilities in Trans Nzoia, Elgeyo Marakwet and Uasin Gishu Counties. By the end of the one week exercise, only seven quacks and 37 health facilities were found to be illegitimate. The quacks were arrested and the health facilities were shut down.

As at November 23, 2016, there were 10,638 registered medical doctors, out of which, 6,359 are active or retained. There are 1,227 registered dentists but only 651 are active. The number of registered specialists is 2,630 and 2,416 are active or retained.

According to KMPDB foreign medical doctors on temporary license are 2,519 and only 1,445 are currently active while the number of foreign dentists on temporary license is 113, only 44 remain active.

The Board has registered nine medical schools in the country, two dental schools, 29 medical schools and seven dental schools from the East African Community.  The number of medical internship training centers in Kenya is 75 while dental internship training centers are 10. Specialist recognition training centers are only two and post graduate teaching hospitals are only four.