Enhancing clinical officers capacity to contribute to prevention, treatment and management of NCDs

Nairobi, KENYA, 30 November 2017 – The Government has introduced training in BSc Clinical Medicine as one of the innovations to increase the access and coverage of clinical services to 80% Kenyans living in rural areas.

According to the Principal Secretary for Health, Mr. Julius Korir, the graduates will help in early screening, diagnosis and treatment of non-communicable diseases which are responsible for up to about 50% of the morbidity.

The four-year course which will be offered at Egerton, Jomo Kenyatta, Kisii, Kabianga, Kabarak, Mount Kenya, Great Lakes and Uzima Catholic Universities will empower clinical officers to be able to perform life-saving procedures like caesarean section.

Speaking during the Clinical Officers meeting on devolved functions and launch of the Clinical Officers Council Strategic Plan 2016-2021 in Nairobi today, the PS emphasized that the clinical officers have a new Act No. 20 of 2017 which was enacted by Parliament this year to empower them to practice as per their professional code of conduct. “This Act provides for the Training, Registration and Licensing of Clinical Officers,” said the PS.

He pointed out that Clinical Officers have been key as first line healthcare workers in providing clinical services to Kenyans since 1928. “These services you provide are found at all levels of the Kenyan healthcare delivery system especially at the primary and community healthcare levels,” he noted.

He observed that although the health workforce is one of the most important pillars of the health systems to help the country achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Kenya vision 2030, currently there are 5154 Clinical Officers serving at the national and county governments.  “These are not adequate as per the staffing norms and standards 2014-2018. But plans are underway to employ more officers,” said the PS.

He also acknowledged that although the Government has installed medical equipment in health facilities through the Managed Equipment Services (MES), there is a shortage of specialists to offer the services and encouraged the Clinical Officers to enroll for higher diploma in nephrology to fill the gap.

Mr. Korir commended the Clinical Officers Council for making it a requirement to for the clinical officers to earn points through Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for retention licensing. “This will ensure professional practice according to current and updated best practices in medicine for delivery of quality clinical services in a responsive manner,” he said.