National Chairman's Opening Speech

The Chief Guest; the Honourable Minister of Medical Services; Professor Peter Anyang’ Nyongo, Key Note Address speaker- Professor Nimrod Bwibo  Chairman of the 15th Annual Scientific Conference Organizing Committee- Professor Joash Aluoch,Founding Chairman of Kenya Association of Physicians; Dr. J.A Aluoch, Family members of the Late Professor Thomas Ogada  Ladies and Gentlemen It gives me great pleasure to be here at this 15th Annual Scientific Conference of Dr. J. O JowiKenya Association of Physicians [KAP].

It is symbolic in that this is the first time we have been to Kisumu. We have been to Eldoret once, and ALL the other meetings have either been in Nairobi or Mombasa. We hope to sample all regions of the Republic in the spirit oneness. It is also symbolic in that, this is the first time; as an Association; that we have a Lecture in honour of one of the greatest teachers of Medicine in this Country- the Late Professor Thomas Ogada.

Young Physicians and Physicians to be who are gathered in this room may have not met Professor Thomas Ogada. A Great Teacher is one who inspires students, hence this humble Honour to the Late Professor Ogada. This is a Theme we, at KAP want to continue bi-annually, and hopefully some of the great Teachers present in this gathering and others not here today, would be honoured. 

For the benefit of our Guests, I will give a very brief history of Kenya Association of Physicians (KAP). KAP was inaugurated on 23rd October 1992. For over three decades, prior to 1992, professional and social interests of Physicians in Kenya were taken care of by The Association of Physicians in East and Central Africa (APECA). Membership of APECA was broad; it included Physicians, Pediatricians, Dermatologists, Clinical pathologists and Psychiatrists amongst other specialties. In the period between 1982 and 1992 APECA was dormant.

Physicians who included Dr. J.A Aluoch, Dr.Okanga, Dr. W. Koinange, Professor Abdullah, Professor Lore, The late Professor Ogada, The late Dr. Eric Mngola; and The late Professor Hillary Ojiambo amongst others founded Kenya Association of Physicians. The number of physicians has steadily increased over the years and young Physicians are getting involved in the day to day running of the Association. Kenya Association of Physicians has been involved with activities that center mainly on educating its members on recent Advances in Internal Medicine.

We plan to expand this education program, in a much more involving manner; to all our colleagues including Medical Officers. As you all know it is the Medical Officers who manage about ¾ or more of all Kenyans who require services of an Internist. This is because there are few Physicians in Kenya (just about 220 in total). Unfortunately Physicians tend to gravitate to major cities; a trend we would like to change. There may be Challenges in having Physicians practice proper Internal Medicine in peripheral towns and rural areas and therefore want to stick to major towns.

These challenges include lack of appropriate investigative and therapeutic facilities in the periphery, so one cannot conclusively manage patients. This leads to patient referral to where these facilities are; and this happens to be in the major cities. The action of perpetual referrals, if repeated chronically, leads to degeneration of cortical neurons and memory centers of our colleagues in the periphery as regards some aspects of medical practice.

The brain is wired such that if you don’t use it, you lose it. It is therefore our request to the honourable Chief Guest; the Minister of Medical Services that the Ministry continues its good work in evenly distributing these facilities around the Republic. However, we, as Physicians, can and should get involved in shaping the destiniy of good practice of Internal Medicine in this country. We can do this by getting involved in dissemination of current information that is evidence-based; not only to ourselves, but also to Medical officers as well. So that even if they have to refer patients- they refer them early. It is distressing to see a patient referred too late- for any good to be done. It is information delivered by us; in very clear succinct form, which will make our colleagues including Medical Officers keep abreast with up-to-date Evidence – Based clinical Practice.

We, at Kenya Association of Physicians, are working with interested parties including pharmaceutical firms, such as Sanofi, to develop Continued Medical Education [CME] Programs targeting Medical Officers as well. This we hope to do by way of Posters, small handy booklets and electronic CMEs. There is no better way to get to the masses other than by e-technology. All these will of-course require approval by the MP&DB CPD Sub-Committee. We already have a Website which contains some education materials. This Website has wide readership all over the World including The Vatican, Europe, USA, West Africa, Asia etc. as I will demonstrate by 4 slides in a short while. What we are looking for is to improve upon the content of this website in terms of Quality and Quantity of material presented.

KAP needs your involvement as Physicians in this regard. One of the Primary Goals of the founder Members of KAP was to form a College of Physicians. Our Surgical Colleagues already have a College of Surgeons. It is feasible. We have made some progress, though at a slow pace, towards this goal. A lot of Legislation is required to form a College of this nature and it is our humble 4 request, to the Honourable Chief Guest that we shall be knocking at your door for guidance and assistance in this regard.

Why do we need a College? In the current situation, If, as a young Medical Officer, I wanted to pursue training in Internal Medicine, I would have to close shop in Garrisa where I have been practicing for four to six years or so, get to either Nairobi or Eldoret; the only places I can get Post graduate training in Internal Medicine, spend close to four years there, while my young wife suffers in Garrisa or may have to fight tooth and nail to get a transfer to join me Nairobi. When I complete my training in Nairobi, my young children would probably have started going to school; so relocating from Nairobi after 4 years would prove very disruptive. I therefore would decide to stick in Nairobi for the sake my children’s schooling. I start doing locums all over the place and soon settle down in a Practice in Nairobi and the Chapter is closed. With a College as we know it, e.g.

The Royal Colleges in London, Edinburgh, and those in West Africa, South Africa etc. I could very well train while in Garissa, Mombasa, Nyeri, Kisumu, and improve quality of Medical care locally, as these institutions would have to conform to all requirements of a training Institution. Investment would be put in place. Students would only converge to specific centers for evaluation and examinations. Physicians who would be trainers in these centers would have to be up-to-date with medical teaching and Training knowledge. There would be no better way of holistically improving quality of care throughout the Republic than a process like this.

We would very much like this goal to be achieved. And finally, as an Association we need to get involved in social responsibility programs and shape the course of matters that touch on Health of Kenyans. In August of this year, we have planned a Public Awareness program which we shall humbly call upon you Mr. Minister, to actively participate in. I join the Conference Committee Chairman in welcoming you all to this 15th Annual Scientific Conference.

KARIBUNI And Thank You.


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