Kenya to get a cut from nurses in deal with UK

Uhuru Kenyatta, Boris Johnson

 President Uhuru Kenyatta with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in July. 

Photo credit: PSCU

 The government will get a percentage of the cash that Kenyan nurses will make in the UK following the deal made by President Uhuru Kenyatta and Prime Minister Boris Johnson in July.

The deal is similar to the one made by Kenya and Cuba, which saw the government get 100 Cuban doctors, with the Cuban government getting a cut.

It is not yet determined how much the nurses and the government will make, but Health Principal Secretary Susan Mochache is scheduled to lead a delegation of senior Health and Labour officials to finalise the guidelines of the deal, sources revealed.

When the Sunday Nation reached out to Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe and PS Mochache on the issue, they both promised to issue a statement after consultations.

So far, 3,329 nurses have expressed interest in the jobs on offer and those who qualify are expected to travel to the UK mid-October. Much like the Cuban deal details of how the nurses will be remunerated remain unclear, with the British High Commission only announcing that the health professionals will work under the National Health Service (NHS).

The nurses who applied and travelled to the UK previously will also get an opportunity to apply for citizenship and earn 100 per cent of their pay.

However, the new cohort will have a special route to work in the UK. They will also be required to work in Kenya’s health sector for an agreed period of time.

Bachelor’s degree

The nurses are required to have a Bachelor’s degree in nursing from a recognised institution, a license from the Nursing Council, a valid police clearance certificate and proof of that they are not employed.

Although it was not in the advertisement from the Ministry of Labour, the nurses are required to have at least 18 months experience. They will also will be required to take a multiple-choice English proficiency test and a computer-based test for UK nursing midwifery.

The British High Commission said there would be some positive outcomes from the partnership, such as a significant amount of money being sent home by the health workers.

“This can then be reinvested in employment within the local health sector or in additional training,” the Commission said in a statement.

The health workers unions have lauded the partnership, with the Kenya National Union of Nurses secretary-general Seth Panyako saying that although it is paradoxical that the government brought in Cuban doctors in the pretext that there were not enough Kenyan doctors, it is good that they have seen the need to give jobless nurses an opportunity.

“I support the move because we will have a chance for our nurses to bring in revenue to the country and support their families back home,” he said.

Kenya Union of Clinical Officers secretary-general George Gibore said he hopes clinical officers will soon get an opportunity to apply to work in the UK, noting that there are about 25,000 registered officers and only 7,000 of them are employed by the government.

“There is nothing wrong with this deal but we wish that the government would disclose the agreement so that we know how much the government is getting and how much the health workers will get,” he said.

While in the UK, President Kenyatta also witnessed the signing of the Kenya-UK Health Alliance, which will bring together UK and Kenyan institutions to improve cancer treatment for Kenyans,.


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