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    Senators to investigate impact of sending nurses abroad

    Senators have launched an inquiry to establish how the health sector has been impacted by an increase in the number of nurses seeking jobs abroad.

    Nominated Senator George Mbugua, who is seeking a statement from the Standing Committee on Health, wants the House appraised on the number of Kenyans who have been cleared to work as nurses in the diaspora from the year 2021 to date.

    “Outline the steps the Kenya Medical Training College together with the Ministry of Health is putting in place to increase the intake of students who would like to pursue nursing training, considering the high demand for Kenyan nurses in the country and abroad,” he said.

    Mbugua further wants the committee to state whether there are strategies in place to give incentives to nurses and other healthcare professionals to encourage them to stay and practice in the country, especially in the underserved areas.

    “Explain any programmes in place to facilitate knowledge and skills transfer from experienced nurses migrating abroad to those remaining in Kenya’s healthcare system,” he added.

    Mbugua further said the House should be informed whether ethical considerations are taken into account when promoting job opportunities abroad, with regard to the potential of exacerbating the shortage of healthcare workers in the country.

    On February 9, the Council of Governors criticized the government’s plan to send trained nurses abroad.

    The Council noted that the government is pushing for the agenda yet there is a need for health workers in the nation.

    “We spend a lot of money in training our health workers and we are giving them in the Western world with the ignorance of assuming they need jobs because they are jobless and yet our facilities have a shortage,” CoG Health committee chair Muthomi Njuki said.

    “Currently the Kenyan public sector has a wealth work crisis with only 14 health workers per 10,000 Kenyans.”

    Nurses attending an annual scientific conference in December last year highlighted the shortage of nurses in public hospitals as a key challenge in Universal Health Care efforts.

    National Nurses Association of Kenya Vice President Denis Mbithi said the ratio between the patients and nurses is worrying with an average ward of 40 patients relying on four nurses for services.

    “The government should give priority to employing more nurses for quality health services,” Mbithi said.

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