Ministry Of Health To Post 552 Medical Interns Immediately, Nakhumicha Says

The Ministry of Health says it will post 552 medical interns immediately following the picketing that has been taking place outside its headquarters.

In a statement, Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha stated that the medics will be posted using the 2024/2025 financial year budget.

She indicated that the rest of the interns will be posted as and when more funds become available.

“The Ministry recognizes the loss in time and highly recommends the interns across the cadres to report to their internship centres as communicated earlier pending the resolution of the package,” she highlighted.

Nakhumicha emphasized the importance of internships in preparing healthcare professionals for their careers and acknowledged the challenges faced by young doctors who have experienced psychological trauma and financial hardship due to the delays.

She said that the Ministry is committed to finding practical solutions to resolve the situation.

The CS noted that Following 56 days of industrial unrest, the government and the union signed a Return-to-Work Formula agreement which marked a significant step towards addressing the challenges.

“The court case notwithstanding, the parties agreed to continue pursuing a consensus position within 60 days that ended on July 7, as a means of unlocking the stalemate out of court,” the CS said.

“So far numerous meetings have been held with good progress made towards achieving consensus. Of note is that both parties agree on the need for the interns to be posted without further delay. The latest of these meetings which ran through the weekend explored various options.”

Nakhumicha also noted that MoH has been working to manage the increasing backlog of graduates awaiting internship placements, highlighting that the demand for internships has outpaced the available financial resources, leading to recurrent industrial action within the health sector over the past decade.

“As of today, the total number of interns awaiting posting across the cadres is 3,760 for a total budget of Sh4.8 billion. Due to budget ceiling, the Ministry received an allocation of Sh3.7 billion in the Financial Year 2024/2025 for internship,” she said.

Since January 2023, the CS attested that MoH has successfully posted 4,156 interns across various healthcare cadres, including doctors, pharmacists, dentists, and nurses.

Further, she claimed that the total cost of this posting is estimated at KES 4.2 billion, with all interns expected to complete their internships by June 2024.

The CS said that she acknowledged the constitutional right to demonstrate and respects the interns who have been camped at Afya House, urging individuals not to use the demonstrations as an opportunity to paint an image of inaction or incompetence against the ministry.

She reassured that discussions are ongoing between the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) and the Ministry will continue to work towards resolving the impasse and ensuring that the careers of young doctors are back on track.

“Following the gazettement of the presidential taskforce to address long-standing issues on human resources for health, the Ministry is optimistic that the Taskforce will come up with recommendations on how to deal with the internship issue permanently,” she remarked.