The first batch of Kenyan nurses recruited to work in the United Kingdom are set to depart the country for their new workstation on Tuesday as part of the bilateral agreement between Kenya and the UK on the recruitment of the Health workforce.
The nineteen nurses have been recruited to the prestigious Oxford University Hospital with 13 of them taking off on Tuesday while the remaining 6 will depart in two weeks’ time after completion of the clearance process.
Speaking during the flagging-off ceremony, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said 80 more qualified nurses have already passed the test and are currently awaiting review and possible placement in other hospitals in the UK. This as he lauded the role played by nurses across the globe towards the achievement of universal health coverage.
“Nurses are at the heart of the world’s current health priorities, from fighting non-communicable and infectious diseases to addressing health emergencies and stemming pandemics.” He observed.
With Kenya having received a number of requests from different countries for Kenyan nurses, Kagwe said the Ministry of Health will set up a task force to deal with all the international recruitment for health workforce in the country.
“We have currently received a number of requests from different countries for Kenyan nurses. This calls for a mechanism to manage the process as we also check and control shortage of specialized nurses and midwives in the country.” Said the health CS.
He took the chance to congratulate Mercy Wasike, a Kenyan nurse who has been appointed Deputy Chief Nurse in UK’s National Health Service, urging those traveling to the UK to remain Kenya’s ambassadors.
He said the agreement between the Kenyan and UK governments further allows for a smooth partnership in many other perspectives in the health sector including education and continuous professional development.
Speaking during the ceremony, British High Commissioner to Kenya Jane Marriot said the flag-off was a key milestone in the implementation of the health workforce collaboration agreement.
“While Kenyan nurses and healthcare workers in general have worked in the NHS for decades, today marks the beginning of a new era of international recruitment of Kenyan nurses to the UK through a government-to-government arrangement.” Said Marriot.
She said the arrangement will expand beyond nurses to other cadres of healthcare workers adding that Kenya should put in place a system of rolling applications to meet the expected high demand.
Among those present during the ceremony were Health PS Susan Mochache and Acting Director-General for Heath Dr. Patrick Amoth.
The agreement between Kenya and the UK on recruitment of the Health workforce was signed by President Uhuru Kenyatta and the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson in January 2021.