Makueni County Assembly Photo:Communication Unit

Makueni County Assembly. Photo courtesy of Makueni Communication Unit

Members of the Makueni County Assembly (MCAs) want the Department of Health to hire a resident pathologist to serve at the County Referral Hospital.

In a motion tabled by MCA for Kitise / Kithuki ward Julius Mwalali on Thursday, the assembly argued that a resident pathologist would enable residents of Makueni to obtain postmortem services at a subsidized fee as stipulated by the County Government’s Finance Act 2013.

“Families have been paying Sh10, 000 to get postmortem services which is beyond the reach of many poor families in the county yet the finance act stipulates that Sh2, 500 will be charged by government medical facilities for the pathology services,” said MCA Mwalali.

While supporting the motion, Kasikeu MCA Paul Malinda said a resident pathologist will provide quicker services to the residents and at a lesser fee and called on the County Government to move with speed and implement the motion.

Malinda’s sentiments were echoed by his Kithungo/Kitundu counterpart Keli Musyoka who termed the lack of a pathologist at the referral facility as unfortunate.

He noted that residents seeking postmortem services rely on private pathologists who are based in Machakos which sometimes forces them to keep their loved ones in mortuaries for one or two weeks waiting for the essential services.

“The county cannot afford to rely on a private pathologist, let’s have one at the referral hospital,” said MCA Keli.

The MCAs unanimously passed the motion and urged the County government to consider the matter as issue of urgency.

Although the MCAs idea of hiring a resident pathologist maybe noble, it should be noted that Kenya has an acute shortage of professional pathologists, a situation that has greatly affected postmortem services.

According to the President of the Kenya Pathologists Association of Kenya Dr. Andrew Gachie there are only close to 80 pathologists in the country based at different regions with each region having one or two pathologists.

The Lower Eastern region pathologist who serves Makueni county is based in Machakos. Notably, the field has also faced exodus of pathologists looking for greener pastures and there is need for the government to offer attractive remuneration to retain the professionals whose services are much needed by Kenyans.