The Association of Public Health Officers- Kenya has opposed a proposal by the Ministry of Health to introduce a three year Higher National Diploma in Clinical Nursing and Clinical Medicine courses in all Medical Training Colleges for already trained nurses and clinical officers respectively.
The Association’s Secretary General (SG), Mohammed Bagajo Duba on Sunday said the proposed introduction of the two courses will in effect close down some rural health facilities which are manned by nurses and clinical officers once they are transformed into community health workers.
Duba said the proposed retraining of health workers who area already experts in their specific fields which was announced by the chairman of the Board Chairman of the Kenya Medical Training Colleges (KMTC), Prof. Philip Kaloki was ill advised because, we already have trained professionals in the two proposed fields who graduated at degree, diploma and certificate levels who are experts in hygiene and sanitation.
Duba said instead of training nurses and clinical officers on hygiene and sanitation, the Ministry of health should instead hire over 2000 trained public health officers and public health technicians who are still jobless many years after they graduated from the same KMTCs.
Training clinical officers and nurses on areas which already have adequate trained manpower is a waste of taxpayers’ money, If there is need for more staff in the field of hygiene, sanitation and community health as Prof. Kaloki alleges, we have very many public health officers and technicians still in government service and many others tarmacking without jobs who can be absorbed to drive the rolling out of the Universal Health care agenda’, said Duba during a press conference at the Association’s offices in Nairobi Sunday morning.
He said training for public health officers, technicians and other cadres in the field of promotive and preventive health is regulated by the Public Health Officers and Training Council which was not consulted before Prof. Philip Kaloki came up with such a monumental announcement.
Since the Public Health Officers and Training Council which also formulates curricula for courses in the field was also not consulted before the announcement was made, who will draft the syllabus for the proposed courses? Duba posed.
Duba said the Public Health Officers and Training Council was formed under a statutory Act of Parliament to work in tandem with the Ministry of Health to ensure that KMTCs train highly professional public health officers and technicians and wondered how the Ministry abdicated its role of coming up with tailor-made policies designed to ensure good standards in the public health sector.
We have an acute shortage of nurses and clinical officers at rural health centres which means that translating these two cadres into community public health and sanitation officials will be tantamount to closing down these facilities, said the Secretary General.
Duba said instead of training nurses and clinical officers of community health, the government should roll out a training programme for community health workers on community health hygiene since they work closely with PHOs on promotive and preventive health services.
Two weeks ago, Prof. Kaloki was quoted by a local daily saying that KMTCs have already introduced two courses to equip health workers in preparation for the government plan to roll out universal health care.
The Chairman who was speaking at the Mwingi KMTC in Kitui County further said the two courses have been tailor made to not only address the shortage of highly trained community health practitioners but also provide skilled medical personnel for realizing the implementation of the universal health coverage agenda.
Source: Kenya News Agency