We find ourselves in perilous times. Healthcare workers are deemed the acceptable losses of the COVID-19 era.  Meanwhile a longstanding stale-mate still plagues our healthcare sector: the doctor-patient imbalance. The shortage in healthcare workers continues to be a significant barrier to Kenya’s healthcare goals. It is worth noting that efforts to increase recruitment and retention remain futile in the public sector; mainly due to the fictitious benefits (one may say even basic necessities) that still remain unmet strike after strike. This has led to a gross migration of medics to the private sector and abroad, making worse the already unbearable circumstances. Not to mention the disparities between rural and urban centers, and between the haves and the have nots. 

Health seeking behaviors are thus affected. Long queues and longer waiting hours deter us from seeking help. Also worth noting is that only 20% of patients have health insurance while the remainder are said to be covered by NHIF. Not only is healthcare inaccessible, it is expensive. 

The static nature of this imbalance leaves us stuck: unable to sustainably increase the number of healthcare workers therefore the patient’s challenges remain constant. This is forcing us to break the status quo. We must evolve to see change in this disparity. 


One approach is the use of Artificial intelligence (AI). Contrary to popular belief, it is unlikely that AI’s will replace clinicians entirely in the near future. Medical professionals spend approximately 50% of their time writing patient reports’. AI’s will essentially take up the ‘busy work’, giving clinicians more time for patients. However, certain technology may decrease the need for a patient to interact directly with a doctor: chat bots provide a viable option by running automated commands virtually as opposed to depending on person-to-person interaction which sometimes lengthens the healthcare seeking process. Additionally, in areas like diagnostic radiology bots and AI’s are said to have accuracy equal to or greater than that of a clinician. As we recognize the current deficit, this may be the answer we need. 

Telemedicine, unlike Artificial intelligence, is within our grasp. It increases the efficiency, efficacy and affordability of healthcare. By reducing travel time and hospital waiting time in a more affordable and convenient way, patients are more likely to seek help. Care is available to patients, right from their homes, through their mobile devicesWe at Ponea health are in the center of a new dawn in healthcare in Kenyacall or WhatsApp +254111013900 today to book an appointmentteleconsultation or home visit for you and your loved ones. Receive quality healthcare services literally at your door step. 

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