Cabinet Secretary for Health Mutahi Kagwe is advocating for a paradigm shift in the training of the country’s healthcare professionals to enhance their global competitiveness.
He was speaking at the Kenya Medical Training College, Nairobi campus during the launch of the English language training program for nurses,
“Kenya is no longer training a workforce just for Kenya. We are training a workforce for the region, we are also training a workforce for the international community. Demographics across the world have created opportunities that perhaps we never anticipated.” Said Kagwe.
The Cabinet Secretary said that the government is not planning to send healthcare workers to work abroad at the expense of the country’s health system.
“We are not sending health workers to the UK at the expense of our health system. We are hiring doctors, nurses in accordance with our ability to do so as a government. It is the extra workers we are trying to create opportunities for.” Explained Kagwe.
Observing that the world is moving towards digital health, the health CS said the Kenyan government is revolutionizing the health sector to ensure that health facilities embrace ICT in their operations.
Revolutionizing was a need for holistic training to ensure that patients especially in public facilities enjoy competitive and best available care of service.
“The qualifications in a private and public hospital are the same, the difference is the service. It is more of non-clinical issue. The service in government hospitals must improve in terms of customer service and non-clinical issues” said the CS.
Kagwe said the planned Health workforce conference on Harmonization of the Curriculum and Training of Health Professionals is set to be held in Mombasa from 7th to 9th of February and will draw participation from 99 countries.
He said the government remains committed to supporting young Kenyan professionals get the best training and related opportunities with global demographics having created new prospects.
“This is the first time ever that we as a government have undertaken a training of this kind where we are preparing our young people to go and work elsewhere oversees. Indeed, to prepare them in their pre-departure training to create a workforce that is internationally able, internationally qualified, and internationally recognized” added the Health CS.
Kagwe said the government remains committed to reforming the health sector in an effort to enhance the quality of service as well as substantially bring down the cost of healthcare in the country.
“We must harmonize and standardize the cost of medical procedures appreciating that there is a government that has subsidized services and a private sector that has to survive because of other aspects” he quipped.
He said the ongoing reforms at the National Health Insurance Fund were meant to sustain the gains registered in recent years besides ensuring that every Kenyan accesses quality and affordable healthcare.
“We have pushed NHIF contracting negotiations to the end of March as the deadline had lapsed in January. We realized that we needed a lot more stakeholder’s engagement in order to have an appropriate contracting agreement between the National Health Insurance Fund and healthcare providers in line with the NHIF Act.”Observed the CS.
Speaking at the same event, Deputy British High Commissioner to Kenya Josephine Gauld said, the current collaboration between Kenya and the UK stems from a bilateral health partnership agreement signed in January 2021 aimed at strengthening collaboration between the two nations. The agreement seeks to explore new opportunities to work together to improve the health and well-being of respective citizens. Among other things, the agreement aims to strengthen the capacity of the Kenyan health system to deliver universal health coverage and end preventable deaths of mothers and children.
Following the initial agreement, the two countries signed another memorandum of understanding on health workforce collaboration in July last year focusing on enhancing the capacity of health workers and health managers as well as improving collaboration between training institutions in the two countries. It also provides an opening for qualified and unemployed nurses to access employment opportunities in the UK’s National Health Service.
The Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC) English Course for nurses launch comes days after 97% of Kenyan nurses failed English test for UK Jobs .In July, Kenya reached an agreement with the UK to allow its unemployed health workers to serve in the UK’s National Health Service