By Sandra Chao
Members of the public have been asked to be cautious about seeking treatment and other medical services abroad.
Chairman of the Kenya orthopaedic association Dr Fred Otsyeno told Kenyans to conclusively look for treatment within the country before choosing to go abroad.
Dr Otsyeno explained that some of the surgeries that people go for in far of destinations can successfully be conducted by specially trained doctors within the country.
“Medical tourism has begun taking root in Kenya and the exploitation is now becoming a very worrying trend. So many people are going for treatments away from here because it is said that they are cheaper and better provided out there which might not be case. Who is to blame after you go out there and something goes wrong?” he queried.
The chairman noted that the country’s medical field had evolved through the years in the provision of quality of services illustrating that it was possible to have knee and hip replacements done within the country unlike before.
Speaking during the 6th Annual Scientific Conference at the Temple Point Resort in Watamu, Dr Otsyeno warned that there was no way to protect Kenyans from quacks if they pursued services of quacks in foreign countries.
At the same time, the orthopaedic doctors warned of fake doctors purporting to come into the country to provide specialized treatment cheaply.
The chairman elucidated that unqualified people were using these affordable services platforms as ways of getting into the country and setting up their own practises despite being incompetent.
“Some of these people who come from foreign countries to offer their services of a short while soon end up opening their own private practises when we cannot be sure that what they are doing here is what they have been practising in their home countries,” said Dr Otsyeno.
He urged the medical board which is tasked with issuing temporary licenses to such visiting doctors to look beyond the papers and investigate what they do at home adding that certificates in this day and age could easily be forged.
He also decried the small number of practising orthopaedic surgeons in the country, adding that the Government needed to capitalize in the training of those who wanted to pursue orthopaedic surgery.
“We acknowledge that training an orthopaedic surgeon is very expensive but the Government needs to invest in the infrastructure not only for the training but also facilities within public health facilities where they can practise and become better in the skill,” he said.
There are less than 100 orthopaedic surgeons when we could do with a ratio of one doctor to a population of 10,000,Dr Otsyeno added.