Train more clinical officers, health experts urge State

Thursday, September 26th, 2019 00:00 |
Jkuat’s Anatomy School of Medicine chair Dr Joseph Kweri.

Universal Healthcare Coverage (UHC) will be a mirage if the government doesn’t pay special attention to strengthening Primary Health Care (PHC), experts warned on Tuesday.

This, according to delegates attending a health conference in Nairobi, can only be achieved by raising numbers of trained clinical officers.

Clinical officers attending a side event at the seventh edition of the annual Medic East Africa conference and exhibition endorsed a model by the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology’s (Jkuat) Anatomy School of Medicine which has a set of proposals seeking to strengthen PHC.

Game changer

Kenya Clinical Officers Association (KCOA) secretary general Eric Ondieki  said the model, Amua Afya Bora Mashinani, is a game-changer and will considerably cut unnecessary referrals to secondary and tertiary health facilities.

“How do we resolve the challenges brought by the heavy disease burden in this country? How can we capacity build clinical officers? The solution lies in training a large pool of clinical officers because of their role in primary healthcare,” he said.

Available government statistics show that the country’s health sector is grappling with a gap of 350,000 health personnel with only 20,000 clinical officers.

This is against a demand for health services by 75 per cent of Kenyans who mainly live in rural areas and can’t access health services.

Jkuat’s Anatomy School of Medicine chair Dr Joseph Kweri, who is the brains behind Amua Afya Bora Mashinani model, urged the government to rethink having dispensaries open for 24 hours like health centres, saying that was the only way the country could shift from curative to PHC.

“Kenya healthcare system has a deficit of about 350,000 health care personnel and a quick lasting solution needs to be developed. Subsequently, in this new model we have proposed to the government, we are developing short and long-term courses for clinical officers.

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