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Quack thrived due to tribalism, says doctors’ union

Deep-rooted tribalism may have provided a fertile ground for Mr Ronald Kiprotich Melly to practise medicine.

“Outsider” doctors posted to the region were rejected and replaced with locals.

Mr Melly, 28, is in police custody. His case for practising medicine without qualifications and of possible forgery of documents will be mentioned tomorrow.

At the time of his arrest, Mr Melly was the medical superintendent of Meteitei Sub-County Hospital in Nandi County. He had previously worked at Kapsabet County Referral Hospital.

According to the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union secretary-general Ouma Oluga, Nandi County last year rejected seven doctors sent to them by the national government and instead hired two others, one of who was Mr Melly.

Doctors are usually posted depending on counties’ needs.

“They rejected the professionals only to hire quacks as we have seen,” Dr Oluga told the Nation on phone on Wednesday.

Coincidentally, Mr Melly, after presenting a letter of completion of internship from the Kendu Adventist Hospital following his 12 months on-the-job training — since denied as valid by the institution — was posted to Homa Bay, but ended up in Nandi.

The letter to the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board by Prof Fredrick Were, the Dean, University of Nairobi School of Medicine, was in response to the board’s inquiry on whether Mr Melly was a student as he claimed.

Another doctor, who requested anonymity, said it was likely that the county might have known that Mr Melly’s documents were not in order.

But since he was “their own”, when it was discovered that he was not properly trained, this might have prompted his promotion to head the hospital — so that he could take up an administrative role rather than clinical work.

“The situation was so bad that some nurses refused to be paired with him for procedures as he would give wrong doses and put patients’ lives at risk in operations,” said a source.

Mr Melly worked in the maternity unit before he was moved to the out-patient department.

Dr Oluga said by rejecting professionalism for ethnicity, the county was putting the lives of its residents at risk.

He said the expose of Mr Melly revealed how bad the situation is in the counties as, other than dealing with tribalism at their places of work, some doctors are forced by counties to pay bribes to be hired.

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