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SMS platform to help Kenyans identify quacks among doctors

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KMPDB chief executive Daniel Yumbwa. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU | NMG 

You will soon be able to confirm whether the doctor attending to you is licensed or not instantly through your mobile phone.

The Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board (KMPDB) has introduced a short message service (SMS) code and a barcode aimed at reining in the quack menace that has plagued the country in recent times.

KMPDB chief executive Daniel Yumbwa, said that the code, to be launched by Health cabinet secretary Sicily Kariuki next month, will also enable Kenyans to get the details and qualifications of doctors.

“When one sends the name of a doctor to the SMS code 20547, they will be able to get the details and qualification of the doctor. We are also working on a barcode for all doctors which will reveal to a reader the details of any doctor making it easier to crackdown on quacks. It will become operational in January next year,” said Dr Yumbya.

He was speaking when he appeared before the Nairobi County Assembly Health Services committee on Tuesday after being summoned to offer an explanation over the alarming number of illegal clinics in the capital.

Nairobi County Public Health Department Tuesday revealed that the county has 2,315 private clinics, out of which at least 800 (34 percent) operate illegally.

Dr Yumbya said that an application known as I-Care is currently at the testing phase and will help in identifying all health facilities in the country.

“When one keys in the name of the facility, it will reveal its locality, doctor in charge and services being offered. This will help also during accidents and families will be able to know which facilities the victims are in,” he said.

At the same time, Dr Yumbya blamed Kenya’s weak legal framework and lenient penalties given to quacks by courts for the proliferation of illegal clinics.

He said that the penalty of Sh20,000 and a maximum jail sentence of six months as contained in the Kenya and Medical Practitioners Act is not a deterrent.

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