Health Cabinet Secretary (CS) Mutahi Kagwe has promised clinical officers that they will also be included in the negotiation plans of working abroad just like the nurses.
Speaking during the gracing of the Kenya Clinical Officers Association Conference at Pride Inn hotel in Mombasa Kagwe said clinical officers make up the largest workforce in the country thus cannot all be absorbed in the Kenyan labor market.
“There are over 10,000 registered clinical officers seeking employment in the country and an influx of interns in the sector. This can be handled if the clinical officers are also exported abroad for work,” said Kagwe.
The CS disputed rumors that the government is sending health workers away instead of hiring them saying the geographical boundaries will not stop the government from helping the medics and like any other workers they can work anywhere.
“We train people to give them dignity and pride. We will fight tooth and nail to ensure that if they can’t get a job in Kenya, they can get it anywhere,” added Kagwe.
The CS however asked the clinical officers to boost their education standards to make it easy to qualify to work in the United Nation and Middle East countries where they will be exported.
Kagwe called for improved training programmes that include more IT related programmes and non-clinical skills like fluent language and customer care skills.
He addressed the insufficiency of such skills noting that only 10 in a group of 300 applicants qualify to work abroad after taking a preliminary exam.
“Let’s prepare ourselves and set standards in that any clinical officer trained in Kenya cannot fail an exam,” added Kagwe.
The health cabinet secretary directed the Kenya Medical Training College officials to allocate more time for IT and non-clinical skills in the curriculum in order to increase competency by addressing weaknesses and creating capacity.
He said that the government has also considered hiring more health workers in the country to be in line with the growing population.
“We are going to increase our work force in the health sector. Just like in the security forces where recruitment happens every year, we also want to make it a policy and hire health workers every year to keep up with the demands of the rising population,” added Kagwe.
In addition, the CS promised reforms in the National Health insurance Fund (NHIF) utilization and urged health care providers to accept digitization of the health sector and assured that the regulations will be amended to reduce the cost of health services.
“The quality of services must be at the highest level. The security of a nation must start with health security,” he said.
He noted that the government is stressing on the issue of bringing down the cost of health services which are now high saying if they will be lowered then NHIF will pay for them fully.
He expressed a vision where the government will bring down the cost of health services to be equal or less that of India.
By Chari Suche and Khatib Suleiman