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Quacks: Five Foreign Doctors Hired By Prof. ‪Mugenda To Replace 100 Striking Doctors At KUTRRH Fail To Pass Licensing Tests

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Prof. Olive Mugenda the Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral & Research Hospital (KUTRRH) board chairperson has once again come under from medics after four of the five foreign doctors that the hospital had hired to replace the striking doctors failed to meet the threshold required by the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Council (KMPDC) to practice in Kenya.

With doctors’ strike stretching to its fifth week, KUTRRH had resorted to hire five oncologists from the East African region; Ethiopia, Malawi, and Tanzania in a bid to allow some critical services to resume.

Making the announcement last week on Tuesday, Prof. Mugenda had said that with the new hires, the facility would able to conduct approximately 40 chemotherapy sessions by today (Monday).

“They are clinical oncologists from East Africa, they are trained and are already doing a good job,” She added.

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However, things have fallen flat in her face following the peer preview by the council’s board.

Despite medical practice being universal, Kenya subjects foreign medics to a rigorous tests before they’re given licenses to practice and this is what the five foreign oncologists were subjected to and failed.

Requirements for registration as a medical or dental practitioner in Kenya

According to the information on their website, the council takes candidates through a daunting process and it’s never a walk in the park. This is aimed at ensuring public safety and that quacks never get to penetrate the system undetected.

One wishing to be registered as a Medical or Dental Practitioner in Kenya must fulfill the below requirements:

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1. Be a citizen of Kenya and:

  • Is a holder of a degree or other qualification obtained from a university in Kenya or the east African community which is recognized by the council as making him eligible for registration.
  • Has passed the internship qualifying examinations.
  • Presents proof of completion of internship.
  • Has passed pre-registration examination.
  • Satisfies the council that he is a person of good moral standing, may apply to the council for full registration as a medical or dental practitioner under this act.
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2. Be a citizen of the East African Community and:

  • Is a holder of a degree or other qualification recognized by the Council as making him eligible for registration.
  • Presents proof of registration in their country of origin.
  • Satisfies the Council that he is a person of good moral standing, may apply to the Council for reciprocal registration as a medical or dental practitioner under this Act.

3. Is not a citizen of Kenya or of a partner state of the East African Community but:

  • Is a holder of a degree or other qualification recognized by the Council as making him eligible for registration.
  • Presents proof of registration from the country of origin or any other jurisdiction.
  • Satisfies the Council that he has acquired sufficient knowledge of, and experience in, the practice of medicine or dentistry as the case may be.
  • Satisfies the Council that he is a person of good moral standing.
  • Has passed an examination prescribed by the Council, may apply to the Council for temporary registration as a foreign medical or dental practitioner under this Act as is prescribed in regulations.

Mugenda called out

It’s not yet clear the points that failed the foreigners. Medical union officials have slammed Prof Mugenda in the wake of tests results.

“To imagine that these were the people who were going to be entrusted with our cancer patients is chilling to say the least.Afya bora sio bora afya! Prof. Mugenda must retire because it looks like she is now playing PR with our patients’ lives!” Said Dr. Dennis Miskellah, secretary general KMPDU.

“If they can’t pass a mere peer review, how about a more rigorous qualification process as should be the case? The government is clearly less concerned about the welfare of its citizens.” Dr. Harry Otieno posted on X.

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Dr. David Jesse added his voice to the topic while acknowledging the importance of the role played by the licensing boards, “it’s pathetic for people like Olive Mugenda to think they can just import foreign healthcare labor and they be allowed to practice without checks. A dishonest way to evade negotiations on the doctors’ strike.”

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“Local health regulatory and licensing bodies like KMPDC and Nursing Council must protect local healthcare professionals and apply the same standards our healthcare professionals are subjected to when transitioning to practice abroad.” He added.

Regarding the future of the hospital’s striking doctors, Prof Mugenda stated last week that the majority of them had received dismissal or suspension letters.

She stated that KUTRRH, which has a capacity of 250 doctors, was only operating with 82 due to other employees going on strike.

“We do not know if the striking doctors will be back, those who stopped working we served them with letters of dismissal and some have suspension letters,” she added.

“The ones we hired will remain even if the others come back, and if they do come back, those with suspension letters will need to face a disciplinary committee,”

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The doctors have been in the streets for five weeks seeking better pay and working conditions. The government on the other hand has reiterated that its too broke to meet the demands by the medics.

“The budget we have set aside of Ksh 204 billion, can afford to accommodate all the 1,200 interns with the Ksh 70,000 salary, but if they want Ksh 206,000, we will be forced to take some few of about 100, which will lead to a backlog of approximately five years.” Felix Koskei, Head of Public Service said on Sunday.

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Koome had ealier ordered County Police Commanders to “deal firmly and decisively” with doctors and clinical officers engaging in street demonstrations in various parts of the country.

Ahead of a mega demonstration by the doctors union, the Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome lamented that the doctors and clinical officers have become a public nuisance and have a directive to police officers to clamp down on protesters.

In a quick rejoinder, Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU) together with a number of lobby groups have threatened to sue IG Koome over the ongoing doctors’ strike.

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In a Demand letter signed by lawyer Ochiel Dudley, KMPDU, Law Society of Kenya, Katiba Institute, The Institute for Social Accountability, Kenya Human Rights Commission, International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), and Africa Centre of Open Governance among others, have vowed to sue the IG for issuing the directive.

The groups argue that the directive by the IG was unconstitutional.

The group further demanded that Koome retract his directive and issue a public apology latest by 6:00 pm Sunday or he would be held personally liable for harm caused by the police to the striking and picketing medics.

The organizations have demanded an apology from the IG following his directive to police to deal with the striking medics “firmly and decisively for becoming a public nuisance and posing a threat to public safety and security.

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