The Ministry of Health (MoH) is turning to interns and community volunteers to deliver its promise on mass access to health services highlighting the acute personnel shortage afflicting the sector.
The ministry has sought an additional Sh4.03 billion to pay allowances for interns and train health workers to facilitate national roll-out of the Universal Health Care (UHC) programme.
In the mini-budget tabled before the National Assembly Committee on Health yesterday, MoH says that this will cater for 4,717 interns and training of 20,120 community-based volunteer health workers.
Under the additional funding, Sh1.9 billion is in allowances for 2,717 pharmacists, doctors and dentists on internship. Sh268.8 million will be used to train the community-based volunteers.
MoH added that Sh148 million will be used to pay allowances for 2,000 interns in the data collection, surveillance and emergency departments ahead of the scale-up of UHC to the remaining 43 counties from the current four.
The ministry said without the funding, the roll-out of the UHC will strain an already overstretched workforce.
“Some facilities lack personnel while in others some cadres are not available as per norms and standards. To close the gap, recruitment of various cadres is expected to be carried out by the counties having assessed their needs with support from the national government,” MoH says in the mini-budget proposal.
The country has a ratio of 13 healthcare workers for every 10, 000 people against the United Nations (UN) set standard of 23 for every 10, 000 people underlining the need for more workers.