Fake doctors run Kenya’s unregulated hospitals

Matharé Street in Nairobi, Kenya.
Matharé Street in Nairobi, Kenya. DR

Some 90 per cent of Kenya's clinics are run by unqualified people, according to the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPPDU), which is calling for a quality health care commission to clamp down on non-qualified personnel. 


The KMPPDU is calling on the government to better regulate the health sector after a number of high-profile cases of malpractice - including patients being molested, paralysed and even killed by people pretending to be doctors - have come to light across the country.

“In the Kenyan context sometimes the population takes it for granted that everyone in a white coat is a doctor and that is not true,” KMPPDU general secretary Dr George Oluga told RFI

The union say nine in 10 clinics are being run by "unqualified people". 

That is not just people pretending to be doctors and not all those counted are directly treating patients, but it seems a high proportion are.

The union is calling for a commision to be set up to ensure that doctors have actually been to amedical school.

Dr Subiri Obwogo has been researching the practicalities of creating such a commision in Kenya.

The government may now be beginning to listen to the proposals but “a culture of quality practise within medicine” needs to be nurtured, he told RFI.

Kenya’s medical profession has  suffered badly from the brain-drain effect.

Many doctors are trained in the country but they can get much higher pay and better benefits working abroad.

Over 2,000 doctors have left the national healthcare system this year alone.

Oluga blamed low remuneration.

"A doctor’s salary in Kenya is now less than the price of a wheelbarrow," he commented.

A desperate need for more doctors in many regions results in insufficient checks on their background or even that they have any medical training at all, he believes.

At present, just 4.6 per cent of the country’s GDP is invested in the healthcare system and experts say any reforms cannot be truly successful with funding at this rate.

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