Health crisis in Lamu as health dispensaries shut down over lack of...

Health crisis in Lamu as health dispensaries shut down over lack of staff

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Part of Lamu Island. FILE/PHOTO.

Lamu, KENYA: Health workers who fled terror prone areas in Lamu two years ago are yet to return,a situation that has forced many of the affected health facilities to close down.

The most affected are Pandanguo, Basuba and Mangai health centers that have so far been closed down due to lack of staff.

The health staff fled the areas following a spate of attacks that marred the region between the years 2014 and 2015.

Speaking in Lamu on Wednesday,Lamu county Health Executive Mohamed Kombo said efforts by the county to try and coerce the health workers back to their duty posts had been futile, since they had all sworn never to return fearing for their security.

Kombo said they had also tried advertising the vacancies for the dispensaries but that no single person had submitted their application.

He said the affected communities now heavily rely on services offered by Community Health workers whom he said aren’t sufficient and effective.

He said many other facilities are at risk of closure due to lack of staff.

“We really have a challenge especially at Mangai and Pandanguo.Now we are forced to train some of the community members on how to offer basic health services apart from also relying on community health workers. No one wants to work in those places,not even when we promise to pay well,”said Kombo.

Locals have expressed frustration saying they have a hard time finding and accessing medical care whenever emergencies arise and that as a result lots of lives are being lost.

On July 12,2014,a gang of over 300 Alshabaab militants raided and vandalized the Pandanguo dispensary and took away all medical supplies.

In June 14,2015,over 60 Alshabaab militants raided the Mangai dispensary, torched an office and a motorcycle before taking off with the entire medical supply at the facility.