Today, we presented our petition on various issues to the senate, we are deeply concerned about the paradoxical situation of unemployment among doctors in Kenya while the country is facing a critical shortage of healthcare workers. The data speaks for itself: with only 5680 doctors in the public sector, the demand for healthcare services far exceeds the supply. And yet, more than 4000 doctors are left unemployed, struggling to find work in their own country despite their qualifications and dedication.
This is not just a matter of HRH mismanagement; it is a fundamental issue of social justice and healthcare equity. We cannot afford to train doctors with taxpayer money and then leave them unemployed, while patients suffer and die due to the lack of access to qualified healthcare providers.
We need to invest in our healthcare workforce, not only to improve the quality of care but also to create jobs and stimulate economic growth. The reasons for doctor unemployment are complex and multifaceted, including limited health budgets and discriminatory labour policies. But we must not lose sight of the solutions that are within our reach. We need to abolish unfair labour policies and establish a health fund specifically dedicated to the recruitment of healthcare workers. We need to allocate an annual budget for healthcare worker recruitment and increase the health budget to 15% of the total budget as per the Abuja declaration.
We need to implement the Kenya Health Human Resource Advisory Council Bill and streamline the internship management process. Moreover, we should not overlook the potential of our own healthcare graduates, who have been trained in our universities and understand our healthcare system. Instead of relying on foreign doctors, we should focus on recruiting and retaining our own healthcare workers.
We are also demanding the Cuba-Kenya exchange agreement not be renewed. We need to ensure that the training programs are relevant to our healthcare needs and that our doctors are not subjected to discriminatory treatment.
In conclusion, we cannot afford to ignore the issue of doctors’ unemployment in Kenya. It is not only a moral imperative but also a practical necessity for the sustainability of our healthcare system. We need to work together, as healthcare providers, policymakers, and citizens, to find viable solutions to this pressing problem.