, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 27 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga has called on locally trained professionals to commit some time to serving the country after school before seeking greener pastures abroad.
Mr Odinga said that Kenya currently spends a lot of money taking patients abroad, where in some cases they are treated by Kenyans who fled to greener pastures.
“The government spends a lot of money to train just one doctor. Yet those doctors leave almost immediately for greener pastures abroad, leaving us exposed. It is a trend we must reverse,” the PM said.
The PM said on Monday that the government is not opposed to Kenyans seeking greener pastures abroad saying the immigrants contribute to the economy through remittances but there should be a balance.
“We need to strike a balance that ensures our services do not suffer and that we pay back to our country after it has trained us. That is not asking for too much,” the PM stated.
The PM decried the losses the country is incurring through migration of intellectuals and professionals to greener pastures abroad.
He attributed the brain drain to lack of high calibre research institutions that would enable intellectuals keep abreast with the latest developments in their fields.
"The government has spelt out measures to respond to this scenario in its Vision 2030, but we need a strong involvement of the private sector to stem the tide of migrations to the developed world," he said.
Mr Odinga was speaking when he met His Highness the Aga Khan, who paid him a courtesy call in his office.
The Prime Minister said that the government is keen to make Kenya the hub for medical facilities, including hospitals and healthcare providers for the region.
“A good number of the intellectuals leaving the country are not driven by desire for money. Many are disappointed by the lack of research facilities that could enable them further their knowledge, be at par with their counterparts abroad and gain intellectual satisfaction from their work,” he added.
He said the government is addressing the problem by sourcing funds for the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Technology. Mr Odinga said the few facilities Kenya has still remain critical in providing health services to people from the Eastern Africa region.
The Aga Khan, who is in the country for a meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Aga Khan University, said he is keen to help Kenya attain higher standards in provision of healthcare and training of health workers.