Kenya is currently facing an acute shortage of dentists. According to the Kenya Dental Association, Kenya has less than 1,000 registered dentists.
Currently, one dentist is taking care of at least 70,000 patients as opposed to 7,000 as recommended by the World Health Organization.
“We are in dire need of dentists. The number we have is overwhelmed and we are likely to have a crisis when it comes to oral health,” said the association in a statement.
Kenya has only two schools that teach dentists; the University of Nairobi and Moi University. The cost of becoming a dentist and the number of years it takes for one to graduate have been pointed out as the reason many students have been avoiding it.
It costs between 800,000 and 900,000 annually for one to train as a dentist. Given that over 70 percent of Kenyans are poor, the fee is far beyond reach for millions of them.
“Most of those who graduate have gone into teaching. Some have left the country to go look for greener pastures in other countries,” said the association.
At the same time, the new Cabinet Secretary for Health Susan Nakhumicha started off on the wrong foot, brushing off furious doctors who told her off for peddling lies.
The young CS seems to have received the wrong brief of how much intern doctors in Kenya are paid. She called the media and loudly claimed that intern doctors are paid better than real doctors. She said they are paid at least 200,000 per month as compared to doctors who receive 104,000 per month.
It seems the Kenyan health sector is likely to see some strange things in the near future given that those who have been put at the helm of the ministry seem to be clueless about what the Ministry is all about. But only time will tell.