Deputy President William Ruto has said that the Government will reverse the policy that transferred some staff of the Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC) to the counties. He expressed concern that the policy, which was in line with devolution of health services, had however adversely affected training of medical staff in the country’s 37 KMTC campuses and should be reversed to make qualified trainers available at the campuses.
“Indeed the Kenya Medical Training College has faced challenges because of transition from a centralised system to the devolved Government and part of the staff that were training students were transferred to county governments yet the function of training is for national government,” he said. “We are in the process of reversing that particular issue so that KMTC can get staff that were devolved back on their payroll to continue to provide the professional training as in the past.”
Mr Ruto was speaking today during the 83rd. graduation ceremony at the Kenya Medical Training College in Nairobi where 7,000 students graduated. At the same time, Mr Ruto announced that the Government would enhance KMTC’s budget by Ksh500 million this year to facilitate capacity building in the new KMTC centres established around the country.
The DP further expressed satisfaction that uptake of insurance cover had increased in the country, noting the number of Kenyans who had medical policies with the National Hospital Insurance Fund(NHIF) had increased from 3.7 million to 5.7 million in the last two years.
Said the Deputy President: “Because we are committed that every citizen must have access to proper healthcare, NHIF is also reviewing rebate to hospitals upward so that they can enhance health care provision to members in those hospitals.”
He pointed out that under the NHIF, a fund targeting chronic diseases would be created to deal with diseases like diabetes, cancer and kidney, saying the special fund will be used to better manage areas with challenges in the health sector.
Mr Ruto disclosed that the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) facility was being expanded to include diploma colleges. He, however, noted that only 20,000 diploma students applied for the facility last year against an anticipated number of 50,000 students, leaving a large amount of money of the Ksh300 million set aside for the students in the facility unused.
“We have made the facility available to you and you can only access it if you apply. Am therefore urging diploma students and parents to apply for the HELB loans because we need a big resource of middle level personnel to drive the development agenda of this country,” he said.
The chairman of the Board of Management of the KMTC Board Mr Philip Kaloki noted that the institution trains more than 80% of health staff in the country, adding they were increasing capacity of training so that each county can have a KMTC campus. “We have opened 16 campuses of KMTC around the country in the last one year so as to address the shortage of health staff,” he said.
He noted that KMTC was implementing reforms in its expansion programmes to encourage public-private partnership in key development areas. Also present was the Principal Secretary for Health Ms Khadija Kassachon who appealed to medical workers to avoid resorting to industrial action whenever they had grievances as they provided very critical services to the country.