Thousands of job opportunities have opened up for qualified Kenyan nurses abroad, renewing hope for jobless graduates from various nursing training colleges. The government has revealed that these jobs are available in the UK, Italy and Kuwait, with more countries showing a taste for Kenyan-trained nurses.
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Already, the Ministry of Health in conjunction with the British High Commission has dispatched the first batch of 19 Kenyan nurses to work at the United Kingdom’s (UK) National Health Service (NHS). This is being done under a bilateral agreement signed between Kenya and the UK in 2021 by President Uhuru Kenyatta and the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnston.
The agreement facilitates the deployment of qualified but unemployed nurses to the UK National Health Service (NHS) in line with the UK’s Code of Practice on International Recruitment and the World Health Organisation (WHO) Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel.
Speaking during the flagging-off at the Ministry of Health headquarters Monday, Health Cabinet Secretary (CS) Mutahi Kagwe said the programme is expected to benefit many families and contribute to the country’s economy.
“The Ministry of Health in conjunction with the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Kenya Medical Training College has seen the first process of government-to-government labour contract actualized and, in the future, playing a key role in improving the economy of our country,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Kagwe said many countries have shown interest in hiring nurses from Kenya. The Italian government has already signed an agreement to get nurses from Kenya while the government of Kuwait has also requested for nurses from Kenya. Over 11,000 nurses graduate yearly in Kenya and as a government, he said, “we would like to see our many trained nurses with jobs.”
He announced that the Ministry of Health will set up a task force to deal with international recruitments for the health workers.
In her remarks, the British High Commissioner Ambassador Jane Marriot said another 70 nurses have already been identified by potential employers in the UK with a view to moving them to the UK in the next two to three months.
She said the nurses who secured employment after being interviewed for positions at the Oxford University Hospital Trust displayed high quality and competence.
“We would have liked to see a higher number of nurses being part of this flag-off, but it made sense to start with 19 Kenya nurses with only one UK employer, to ensure the right systems and guidelines are in place before scaling it up to more employers,” Ms Marriot said.
She revealed that not only 300 NHS potential employers in the UK will engage Kenyan nurses, but also the remaining employers will recruit once more Kenyan nurses are eligible. “We hope Kenya will put in place a system of rolling applications to meet the expected high demand. In time, this arrangement will expand beyond nurses to other cadres of healthcare workers,” said Ms Marriot.
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