Health & Fitness

Time is ripe to reflect on health workforce

medics

Health workers at the Kenyatta National Hospital protest during a past industrial action. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NMG

Summary

  • The health workforce including clinical, nursing and ancillary staff is a key software that drives the healthcare services provision cogwheel.
  • Besides the recruitment of this key workforce to foster healthcare services, prudence behoves the protection of these workers’ needs and rights with uttermost fidelity in the public and private sectors.
  • This includes addressing competitive remuneration, career progression and training, work-life balancing and occupational safety as they render their services.

This year’s Labour Day celebration provides an opportune moment for Kenya to deeply reflect on the strides made in securing the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommended health workforce level.

In addition, we are in an electioneering period, a key moment for our next leaders to think about the health workforce agenda as they unveil their manifestos.

It is the solemn duty of the electorate to interrogate these manifestos to drive an action-oriented healthcare agenda. This will be critical for improving healthcare indicators.

The WHO describes the health workforce as one of the key building blocks of any healthcare system that also includes leadership and governance, service delivery, financing, medical products, vaccines and technologies and health information systems.

The health workforce including clinical, nursing and ancillary staff is a key software that drives the healthcare services provision cogwheel.

Besides the recruitment of this key workforce to foster healthcare services, prudence behoves the protection of these workers’ needs and rights with uttermost fidelity in the public and private sectors.

This includes addressing competitive remuneration, career progression and training, work-life balancing and occupational safety as they render their services.

There has been significant growth in the level of sophistication of specialised clinical services in Kenya. This has resulted in a reduction in the need for patients to travel abroad for advanced clinical services.

However, a similar drive towards advancement needs to occur at the bottom of the health service provision pyramid, which is within the community and primary healthcare facilities.

This underpins a need for the ministry of health, public service commission and also private healthcare providers to create crystal clear mechanisms for absorbing graduating health workforce from the different training institutions in the country.