The Government will use Shs 15billion for the expansion of medical training colleges to meet the country’s demands in skilled human resources for health, Deputy President William Ruto has said.
Mr Ruto said the funds that have already been approved would go towards the expansion of laboratories and construction of hostels to meet the needs of the students, saying the development of a nation depends on the health and well-being of its people.
The Deputy President said the Government’s agenda to have a universal healthcare for all Kenyans would only succeed if there were enough human resource to implement the programme.
Speaking during the 85th KMTC graduation ceremony of 8,967 students, in Nairobi, on Thursday, the Deputy President said the World Health Organization (WHO) had recently warned that there would be shortage of 18million medical practitioners across the globe in the year 2030.
He said it is because of this reason that the country was prioritizing the expansion of health institutions to facilitate training of more medical personnel to have enough human resource necessary for the development of the health sector.
“As Government we are committed to expansion of our health facilities to having enough human resource that can meet the health needs of the country,” said Mr Ruto.
Mr Ruto said the number of students joining medical colleges has also increased from 19,000 in 2013 to 35,000 in 2017, saying this was a clear indication that the Government was attaching great importance to the development of the health sector.
He said the efforts to improve healthcare since 2013 have contributed to major improvements in child and maternal health indicators with deaths of children below five years declining.
“In the next two years, we want to make sure that we have medical colleges in all the 47 counties to equalize and meet the health needs for all our citizens,” said Mr Ruto.
The Deputy President said the Ministry of Health has been asked to set aside an additional Shs 100 million to facilitate loans for students joining medical colleges across the country.
“We want to ensure beginning next year that all students joining KMTC and who apply for loans get access to them so that they can concentrate on their studies uninterrupted,” said Mr Ruto.
The Deputy President challenged the graduands to demonstrate their skills and competencies through service delivery and make a difference in the society.
Mr Ruto said their call of duty dictated that they should not be driven by other extraneous issues other than service to humanity.
Health Cabinet Secretary Cleophas Mailu said the Government would continue to review the curriculum of training offered to students to cope up with the health needs of the country in the 21st century.
He said the Government with the help of World Bank among other partners has embarked on training of 800 students from arid and semi arid areas with preference on those from vulnerable backgrounds.
“This is a major step in empowering young people from disadvantaged backgrounds acquire health skills as well as promote equity in access to medical education that KMTC endeavors to provide across the country,” said Dr Mailu.
Chief Executive Officer Peter Tum said World Bank has funded the training of students from arid and semi arid areas with focus on those from vulnerable families in Community Health Nursing to a tune of Shs 1billion.
“This will go a long way in ensuring the health needs of people from hardship areas as these students after graduating will be posted to work in their respective communities and thus address the shortage of personnel experienced in such areas,” said Mr Tum.
He said it was impressive that medical skills of graduands from KMTC have attracted the attention of countries like Somalia, South Sudan, Botswana and Namibia among other countries.
“In fact, Somalia has requested us to train its 200 students and this is a clear indication that KMTC services are being recognized,” said Mr Tum.