Shortage of neurosurgeons bites as head injuries rise

Kenya requires at least 56 neurosurgeons to meet the World Health Organisation threshold.

According to Dr Jackson Kioko, the Director of Medical Services, the country is facing an acute shortage of the health specialists despite of rising head and spinal injury cases linked to road accidents.

“We have only 18 neurosurgeons serving 45 million Kenyans . . . This is a big variance considering there are increased incidences that require the attention of a neurosurgeon such as brain and spinal cases linked to road accidents (boda boda accidents) and other health conditions like cancer,” he said during a neurosurgery conference in Eldoret last Wednesday.

The WHO recommends at least one neurosurgeon for every 200,000 people.

“In East Africa with 27 specialists, one neurosurgeon serves over 11 million . . . because of the shortage, 56 per cent of patients with severe injury die after 24 hours,” said Dr Kioko.