REPUBLIC OF KENYA

Kenya working towards improving quality, number of human resources for health – PS Mochache

The Ministry of Health says Kenya is pushing ahead in its quest to address the shortage of health professionals across the country.
Health PS Susan Mochache says the number of healthcare providers as well as the capacity of those qualified to practice as medics are matters the government is dedicating time and resources to achieve in the near future. She described these as essential requirements as the country moves to lay the foundations of Universal Healthcare Coverage.
“Sometimes our health professionals are stretched, sometimes beyond capacity in struggle to cope with situations.” Said the PS
“While we have the issue of numbers, there is also the issue of quality. Do we have health workers that are prepared for the emerging issues of this generation and those to come in the future? What is the health worker going to look like in 2030 or say 2050?” She posed during the opening of a conference on review of harmonization of curriculum and training of health professionals in Mombasa on Monday.
Mochache told the delegates that Kenya is keen to have a pool of healthcare practitioners that is responsive to “the health threats that are coming, prepare people to the skilling that is required to respond to our needs. That is what informed us to have this conference.”
“We brought in as many diverse minds as possible from different environments to speak this important subject. Through this discourse we will change the trajectory of human resources for health.” she told the forum.
According to Mochache, Kenya has taken huge steps to develop its healthcare systems in areas such as the roll out of technology (as seen during covid pandemic), data management, pharmaceutical products, and medicines. Whereas this is crucial, she pointed out that more emphasis will henceforth be put into handling the issue of health workers.
“What we know is there are gaps, never mind that we have so many graduates, but have we produced them ready for the market and ready to serve?” she posed.
Noting that this is an issue affecting most nations, particularly in Africa, she said “one of the things we needed to do very quickly is to increase our human resource capacity across the country as well as critical care workers.”
She called on the participants to dialogue extensively and make additional recommendations on how the state and stakeholders in the sector can possibly address the matter. Mochache said the country was still in a situation that “requires the responses that we get out of here injected quickly into our healthcare systems.”
To address these gaps, Health Chief Administrative Secretary Dr. Mercy Mwangangi noted that the curricular, training and practice of health professionals plays a significant role.
That being the case, Dr. Mwangangi said regional bodies play a significant role in their realization and therefore, they too ought to be looked at. In this regard, she posed relevant questions, such as; whether training in partner states has been standardized.
“What is going on when it comes to cross border recognition agreement for medical specialists? What is the crux of the matter when it comes to cross border joint inspections or medical facilities? Have we standardized the infrastructure across the EAC?”
“What about the free movement of citizens working in these regional blocs? Will the mutual agreements that exist ensure and facilitate workforce migration across borders?
Are our healthcare workers fit for purpose for the delivery of universal healthcare coverage? Posed Dr. Mwangangi
These are some of the issues shaping the agenda of the three-day conference, officially opened by President Uhuru Kenyatta in Mombasa on Monday.