, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 27 – The government on Tuesday called for help from the private sector as they try to solve the problem of shortage of trained health workers.
Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi said this problem is caused by varied financial constraints facing students willing to pursue medical training.
Kaimenyi said the country has a shortage of 60,000 nurses, 20,000 doctors and clinical officers and 10,000 laboratory technicians.
He explained that Kenyans need to unite to work towards the improvement of the health facilities that are in the country.
“We can only make change if we are all prepared to invest in the health sector by giving some percentage of our finances, time or skills towards the improvement of the health sector in the country,” said Kaimenyi.
Kaimenyi, who was speaking at the launch of the Afya Elimu Fund, said the government will partner with the private sector to ensure medical students get provisions to overcome financial hurdles and get sufficient training.
The fund is aimed at providing education loans to needy students to purse training in various Kenya Medical Training Colleges in the country.
“This project is a brilliant project and it reminds me of the scarcity of diagnostic services in our country which is alarming as people have to travel great distances to get to a health facility that offers any,” added Kaimenyi.
The Afya Elimu Fund was created earlier this month through a collaboration of Higher Education Loans Board (HELB), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under the Funzo Kenya Project and the Kenya Health Care Federation.
The fund is geared towards building capacity of a well trained health workforce in the areas of nursing, clinical medicine, laboratory services and health records information technology.
The officials said that they have plans to train approximately put 2,500 students in its first year and a further 1,500 students each year.
The fund will cater to tuition money for students joining medical institutions and the students are expected to pay back at an affordable rate.
HELB CEO Charles Ringera said “having the students pay back the loan will ensure that it is revolvable for the benefit of other students in the future.”
According to Ringera, they expect the loan payments to be completed in a period of five to 10 years depending on the loan given to each student.
He said that this move will ensure that there is efficient delivery of health services, which has been below the average mark due to the shortage of qualified health personnel.
“The graduands will greatly assist the doctors we have in efficient health service delivery especially from under served and severely affected areas of the country,” he added.